Want to Run Away to Mexico with Me? (Real Question… Quiz Inside)

Are you feeling behind already? Let’s not — OK?

Let’s do less, live more in 2017.

I’m in a process of learning how to set priorities like I’ve never done before. Rather than run around with that wack-a-mole energy I’m making the choice, day by day and moment by moment to concentrate my energy around my deepest desires.

Which for the next three months is writing my first book under the guidance of a book coach.

I’ve been so inspired by the community of fellow authors. People who have written books while homeless. (I’m not kidding). While they had cancer. I mean come on.

These authors faced extreme circumstances but I don’t mean to minimize the struggles we all have to integrate care of self, care of beloveds, care of finances, care of home, and care of work priorities.

My writing program starts next week and my kids just went back to school yesterday. (Well technically it was Tuesday but Rosetta didn’t get my memo titled “Please G*d Go Back to School” and instead woke us all up in the dawn hours throwing up.)

So in this day of blissful silence as I prepare for the next season of my life I am attuned to a fierce wind blowing. I only have bandwidth for the most true things within me. Not the partial truths or the “have-to’s.”

This is where you come in.

As I’ve hinted I have been doing some research with my lovely virtual assistant on retreat locations for the May. This gathering will be similar to my Ghost Ranch offering last year but this time I’m going out on my own.

While Austin in all ways makes much more sense (people can drive there and it is fun and fabulous) my heart was hijacked by my recent trip to San Miguel de Allende, a UNESCO World heritage site and cultural gem in the highlands of central Mexico. And my soul is whispering go for it.

It is where I want to take you for transformational work.

It meets my requirements for being nature-drenched. (Enjoy a trip to the botanical gardens with an experiential herb labyrinth garden. Swoon. Or come a day early or late to immerse yourself in the hotsprings.)

But actually what it does most of all is match my desire for taking you somewhere beauty-drenched.

I wish I could share the pics of the place I’m considering renting but I’m awaiting a digital copy from the owner. But take my word for it: heated pool, courtyard, churchbells and bird calls. It delights the senses.

As women I think we need to honor drinking in beauty as a spiritual practice– a way to invite all of ourselves into our metamorphasis process, not just the more heady or pushy aspects of our personality.

(Have you noticed that barking at yourself around those New Year’s resolutions isn’t effective?)

The select group of women who join will be guided through group coaching sessions centered around themes in my upcoming book. Things like how to live with more ease and less struggle. And how to let go of external expectations to design a life which fits you from the inside out. (And ironically, frees you to contribute your most potent content in your professional and creative life.) Plus my favorite tools and processes for gaining clarity and breaking large goals into turtle steps. They will also be among the first to receive a copy of my book.

So — and this is an open and honest question. Are you into it?

Tentative Dates are Thurs May 4 -Sun May 7.

I know there are many more questions to answer, details on pricing, what is included (here is a hint, I’ll be bringing my husband who has years of catering experience and is an amazing chef to provide us with delicious, healthy fare), accommodation options and more.

But for now its just my heart talking to yours — I’ve put together a brief quiz for you and can’t wait to hear your preferences!

Warmly,

Courtney

Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life 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. You can read more about her coaching options here or Courtney can be reached directly at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

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Be Seen in 2017

That moment when you are dripping at your desk capturing a thought you just had in the shower and your six your old with her freshly brushed teeth all ready for bed sits down next to you and says mommy, is that your book?

Aaah. Yes. Yes it is.

Here’s to 2017. May it be full of moments ripe with tenderness and being seen for exactly who you are.

Love and all the good,

Courtney

Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life 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. You can read more about her coaching options here or Courtney can be reached directly at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

Want to get the latest from Courtney?



How I Get Ready for the New Year (3 Questions You Want to Answer)

Let’s clear your inner ‘to-do’ list, shall we?

I’ve been watching all the tips and tricks from coaches, lifestyle gurus, and mindfulness guides as the year ends. I’ve even done some and enjoyed them. You too?

But it got me curious — what am I hungry for? What do I need to clear out this season so I can open to the next?

Sometimes we look outside for the perfect formula, when there is a gentle interior invitation beckoning.

Here is what bubbled forth for me this week as I had some extra time to wrap up the year.

I hope it inspires you craft your own custom process. Or try this one on and take what you like.

Wishing you a very Merry Everything. And a gorgeous New Year with lots of space for the new!

Courtney
PS I’ll be traveling to warm water with my beloveds over the holidays but will open my coaching calendar again in January. Space is limited. If you know you would like some TLC in nurturing those 2017 goals + dreams (remember #Wearen’tmeanttodothisallalone?) send me a quick email at cp@courtneypinkerton.com so we can preserve your spot. xo

How I Get Ready for the New Year

Step Number One:

Whiteboard Your Thoughts. Set the timer on your phone. Give yourself 20 minutes and a blank page in a journal or on your computer. Let it rip! Gather all those things you are carrying around internally — they really tax your bandwidth. It could be little things or big things in your work or life. Include also your volunteer action items. Gifts which need to be purchased. Appointments which need to be made. ALL OF IT. Get it in one space. If you have one or more current “to-do” lists going (I realized I had two by accident!) capture those items in this list as well.

This is the most important step. So often we carry around an internal set of to do lists, things we are just keeping track of in our mind or psyche. This is a huge drain. We need to trust ourselves to capture it and have a system that works for us.

(If you want to really go for the gold here you can also clean up saved or ignored emails so you feel confident you have captured it all. This alone has taken me a few days – I got kind of behind with non urgent correspondence after Thanksgiving. It happens! Let yourself begin the new year fresh.)

Step Number Two:

Tell the Truth

Check in with each item on your list and make sure you still want to do it. Do you really or is it just a “should” you have hanging around? This drains energy. Make a clean yes or no decision for now.

I’ll give you an example. About a year ago I went into a fierce reading frenzy around organizing our family finances + long term planning. I read a bunch of books and one of them suggested that instead of a will it is better to create a living trust.

It sounded like a good idea but as you can imagine there are many steps to implement it.

Later I talked with a family member who specializes in estate planning and he said it isn’t really necessary in Texas. (OK obviously I’m not giving you legal/financial advice here. You already knew that, right?)

This living trust item lingered on my list. Should I or shouldn’t I?

I ultimately decided that while there were a few other action items I needed to do to tidy up our will (which I have in motion to finish up in the next few days) I didn’t need to pursue this whole other legal structure right now.

So it is off the list. Not there at the bottom making eyes at me while I don’t do it.

So that is a pretty boring example. But our list (indeed life itself) is full of such mundane things. Remember, evaluate each item. It has to earn its way into your gorgeous plan for 2017.

Also notice your body compass as you engage your list.

Perhaps one of your “to-dos” isn’t just a thing you are lukewarm about but haven’t gotten to yet. Perhaps, likely even, you feel a bit icky about it and really don’t ever feel like doing it.

If you feel a subtle “ick” about any item on your list (i.e. have a negative body compass read) pause right away.

This is your opportunity for an integrity cleanse. (Thanks to Martha Beck for this great phrase).

If something is out of alignment for you. Recalibrate.

For example as a recovering overachiever and people-pleaser I can get out ahead of myself sometimes, particularly in relationships. Over-giving, taking on more than I actually want to do. Avoiding conflict.

But the body doesn’t lie.

Often we talk ourselves into things as requirements which really are not. Also life is constantly changing. And what can keep us from upleveling into the beautiful life we want today are the commitments we made previously which no longer fit us.

So if something doesn’t feel like a clean yes then don’t put that puppy on your 2017 list.

Instead ask these questions:

Do you really want to do it? Could you simply not? If so — bag it! Say “Sorry I have another commitment.” You do! Your commitment to your spacious life full only of the things which satisfy you and through which you feel most alive, generative and of service.

Could you get some help so you aren’t doing it all yourself?Identify specifically the support you need. Line it up. Schedule it in your calendar.

Could you make the process of doing it better somehow?With cozy pants, a dedicated chunk of time, and a favorite pot of tea for example?

Only then, if you have moved the dial on this “to-do” to the positive realm by including support for yourself do you put it on for 2017. Otherwise, seriously, just let it go. You aren’t going to do it anyway.

Now what about those things that no one wants to do but which make you feel so yummy afterwards? Space them out one a month.

Right now you could probably list three or more things you want to declutter. What if you made a declutter/cleanse program part of every month? For example in January I’m creating a virtual wallet and cleaning up my passwords. In February I’m tackling my desk drawer which has gotten overrun with sticky notes. And in March I’m cleaning the front closet.

Make yourself dates to check in. And put them in the calendar to make it real.

You can keep going — identifying a whole slew of things you need to tidy up, one per month for 2017. Imagine how your home and life might hum?

Lastly Step Three:

Make an Elegant List. Or as I like to call it: My Next Beautiful Steps.

How to structure your next beautiful steps?

I like to structure the to-do tasks by location asking where do I need to be to get them done:

Computer
Phone
Errands
Family/Volunteer (I pull these out from my work/biz tasks)

These are my four basic categories. Again tweak this to fit you!

So lets review. At its core there are really three steps:

Whiteboard (i.e. capture it all, the to dos inside your brain and on every other surface)

Remember each item has to earn its way into 2017. (AKA check in with your body compass and aim for a clean yes or a clean no for yourself + remember to line up additional support as needed.)

Create an elegant design for your 2017 Beautiful Next Steps— bundling by location.

One last tip -– don’t fall into a rabbit hole. It can be tempting to start to actually knock out the things on your list. If it will take less than 2 minutes, go for it. But otherwise keep focused on the meta process so you complete it.

Gift yourself a clean slate (free from the weight of an interior to-do list) and enjoy your set of gorgeous next steps for 2017!

Wondering about the Love Wins photo above? I got inspired to make this when I went to make a donation on behalf of the Soulpreneur Mastermind members from this Fall and discovered that finca.org was matching our donation 4 to 1! Finca is a non profit that offers micro loans to women entrepreneurs in the developing world. I love reading their success stories. Poverty doesn’t win. Making yourself small so you don’t make other people uncomfortable doesn’t win. Hate doesn’t win. Love wins! If you need a hit of inspiration (or want to make a year end donation) I hope you will check them out. xo 

Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life 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. You can read more about her coaching options here or Courtney can be reached directly at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

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When You Can Expect My Book in Your Hot Little Hands

Here I am all scarecited and about to hop on the Zoom call for a two and a half hour group interview with a book coach last Wednesday and I am so delighted to share that I made it into her mentoring program! This means I will be dedicating myself to my book project in the next few months with a manuscript done by date of March 17. More details on publishing/purchasing options this spring. Ohmygoodness Ohmygoodness Ohmygoodness.

I opened up the welcome email today from my coach with the link to our shared work space for my book and saw all these glorious deadlines — super detailed to dos some of which I don’t even understand yet like “submit reader magnet” and “submit draft request for advance praise for review” and my favorite “make sure you have arranged your travel plans to the Author castle” for a celebration with other authors this spring.

I had to pause and just let the shiver of pleasure move through my whole body. Taking eleven seconds to breathe in the good. Thisisreallyreal. Thisisreallyreal. Thisisreallyreal.

Do you have any dreams like that? Dreams so pressing and gorgeous that you almost dare not let yourself own them?

Maybe you don’t think you are ready.

Maybe you don’t want to let yourself have a dream again because of all the times you set goals and didn’t follow through.

Or you tried. Again and again, without the results you hoped for.

Maybe you dim so that others can feel comfortable around you.

Yet here is the truth:

This thing you want to create. Your book. Your new biz. Your shining lovely life which feels good to inhabit.

You don’t have to create it all by yourself.

The biggest thing I felt opening that email was supported. This has been a hard lesson for me. I love to hold tight to the illusion I can control it all, do it all, will and bend my life to my liking.

But the more I let go of that and reach for the help I need — the more life blooms in front of me.

#Wearen’tmeanttodoitallalone.

Lots of love,

Courtney
PS I’ll be opening my coaching calendar for new clients in January and would love to support you in your 2017 goals! Read all about my signature coaching program and if you want to preregister (and reserve your spot) you will find that link here. xo Courtney

Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life 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. You can read more about her coaching options here or Courtney can be reached directly at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

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On Phenology and Other Words I Barely Understand but Like to Use

purplebasil

Last night I went outside and said goodbye to my basil. In an impromptu ritual in the crisp air and dropping temperature I found myself almost caressing it. Telling it the winter is coming. Sprinkling some of the ripe seeds hoping they will lie dormant and grow me more fabulous purple basil next year.
 
I have this tendency toward the slightly morbid. And overly dramatic. (Ask my mom.)
 
I also always identify with what is hurt or dying. Watching nature documentaries completely overloads my adrenals.
 
But the truth is we can focus on the loss of life or on the change.

From the perspective of the soil this is feast time.

All those nutrients that trees have drawn up must now shower down.

And then there is rest.
 
Embedded in the shift of seasons is an invitation to observe deeply.

This is a time of taking stock and stripping away nonessentials.

So avert your gaze from the insanity of the marketplace for a while to watch the quiet unfolding of the season.
 
This practice has a name. Phenology.

It reminds me of a lesson I learned years ago when right out of college I worked as a case-manager for homeless women and children at an amazing nonprofit.
 
I was gearing up to leave for the Peace Corps and a colleague said she had been tempted to do that but then realized she wanted instead to stay in Bloomington, Indiana and invest deeply in the wisdom of the vibrant community of activists where we worked. I always remembered that conversation. I guess because we were each so peaceful, so secure in our next step toward learning what we were called to learn.
 
Go around the world or sink deeply into your spot. (Or do a little bit of both!) Observe. You can awaken to the same lessons.
 
Love to you this day.
 
Courtney
PS If you want to read some of my favorite travel blogs including my recent trip to Mexico you will find those here and here

Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life 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. You can read more about her coaching options here or Courtney can be reached directly at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

Want to get the latest from Courtney?



Almost Wordless: Beauty from Mexico

 

san-miguel-rooftop_quoteThis has been some week, beloved! One spent communing with the dust and gold that is human life.
 
On the one hand I turned 40. This actually feels fabulous. I’ve been told all my life that I’m “mature for my age” and an “old soul” – seriously I’m ready to just be old already. Bring it! Ready for my insides to match my outsides. I think I’ll be a good crone or medicine woman.
 
The funny thing about turning my gaze to the second half of life is that I simultaneously feel lighter than ever.
 
For my birthday present to myself I completed a two plus month cleanse. It was fierce and had some powerful side effects as I detoxed off sugar, caffeine, processed food and booze but I feel really clean and powerful inside now. Like I finally listened to the diet my body wants for me and stopped feeling sorry for myself that I can’t eat whatever I want. (The funny thing is you would have thought I was eating tons of sugar and the like before. I wasn’t but it was still more than my body wanted.)
 
Now I get to let back in fruits and some gluten free grains and the occasional treat so it can become a sustainable way of life.
 
But I feel lighter not just physically but emotionally as well.
 
As I head into this decade I am so grateful for the lessons I learned in my 30s – born from the intensity of birthing and parenting little ones, learning how to chart a career which integrates my spirituality and ambition, and making peace with my hometown after swearing I’d never return to live here (and succeeding) for most 20s.
 
All of this contending with the dust of human bodies, aging, and dietary limits seems to have set me up to enjoy the gold side of the equation.
 
You know there are moments where life just feels magical? Filled with fairy dust?
 
Well I had me some of those on our recent trip to San Miguel de Allende, a cultural gem in the Central Mexico highlands.
 
Perfect days full of soaking in mineral springs and botanical gardens and long conversations with my husband. 

Dinners on rooftop restaurants overlooking the cathedral lit below in the town square.
 
Lunch remembering how fun it is to speak Spanish with new friends at communal tables in an open air café.
 
And beyond our trip to San Miguel I felt the gold dust at home too – especially when presented with breakfast in bed and homemade cards by my little people.
 
What I was struck by in all the magic was how it was just what I wanted.

Someone else might have wanted a huge party for their birthday or another kind of trip or celebration. But to gift myself this experience I had to actually pay attention to what I desired. To the life which is right for me.
 
I haven’t always been so good at that. As a recovering overachiever and people pleaser I have logged some serious time jumping through other people’s hoops. But I’m learning to unhook from other’s expectations and to honor my own soulful nudges.  
 
And this is what I hope for each of us. In those big milestone days and in the ones in between. A fit between what we want and what we live.
 
A resonance.
 
A feeling of cohering on the inside and out.

To share the goodness I’ve tucked in a few of my favorite pics from San Miguel below.
 
And to plant a seed. I’m researching locations for my spring retreat in 2017. Austin and now San Miguel are on the short list.
 
So if you need some adventure in your life. Get your passport. It will either be in Texas (hey, we are like a whole other country!) or Mexico. I’m leaning pretty heavily toward San Miguel. I’ll keep you posted.
 
Love to you,
 
Courtney

san-miguel-sunset

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Window View

cobblestone

New Opportunities 

Would you enjoy some support heading into the holiday season? Would you like to savor + nourish the good stuff in your life as you also edit out those old obligations which no longer serve you? Would you enjoy guidance on how to practice exquisite self care as you grow and stretch? I am so delighted to offer one slot for a new or renewing coaching client starting in December + including my fun Autumn bonus gifts. While December can seem crazy pants as a time to start something new, actually it can be a wonderful time to invest in a process which preserves your own sacred space. Read all about my signature coaching program here + reply here with any questions or to get started! xo Courtney

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Photo Nov 12, 2 21 07 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life 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. You can read more about her coaching options here or Courtney can be reached directly at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

My Interview with Ordinary Mystic + How to Meditate with a Full Belly

fall-leaves

 

This has been a season of fall leaves and interviews for me — a new and growing edge I’m discovering that I really enjoy. The question and answer section of any teaching gig is always my favorite: where awareness tools — Enneagram, meditation, mindbody practices etc — shift from landing in our heads to instead seep into the heart and body. That is how I felt answering these questions — emerging from a recently reanimated friendship from my Harvard Divinity School days. With Mark guiding the conversation my mind could relax and I could just shoot straight from the heart.

Read on dear Birder for more about my awkward transition into entrepreneurial life, some of my heartbreak + great loves.

And if you could use a meditation infusion to aid you in recovering from the American Thanksgiving holiday here is a Vintage Bird favorite including a walking meditation, great for a full belly.

Enjoy!

Courtney
PS The Soulpreneur Mastermind mentioned in this interview is now full however registration will open again for new members in 2017. I am currently accepting two new clients to start in December for my signature coaching program, which you can read about here. xo

Courtney Pinkerton: Bird in Hand Coaching and Soulpreneur Mastermind

October 17, 2016

Mark Longhurst and Courtney Pinkerton

Editor’s Note: I’ve recently connected with one of my old friends from Divinity School: Courtney Pinkerton. It turns out that Courtney’s life, too, has taken a contemplative turn. With a background in non-profit work and training in ministry, Courtney started her own coaching company, called Bird in Hand Coaching. In just a couple of days, she’s launching a three-month project that caught my eye: it’s specifically for women who seek to create a safe community for their soul’s entrepreuneurial/creative yearnings called “Soulpreneur Mastermind.” I caught up with Courtney for her to share about her work, and this program.

Learn more about Courtney’s work at www.courtneypinkerton.com

Ordinary Mystic: Courtney, it’s so good to reconnect with you after a long while! The last time we spoke, I believe you were finishing up two degrees at Harvard-one at the Kennedy School of Government, one at the Divinity School. Now you’ve moved to Texas and started your own life-coaching business called Bird in Hand. What compelled you to become a life coach and meditation teacher?

Courtney Pinkerton: Yes Mark it is so fun to reconnect! I remember us sitting to chat on the steps of Harvard Divinity School in the sun, could it have been orientation week?  Delighted to hear about your launching of Ordinary Mystic and to share more about my own work.

In terms of what compelled me to become a life coach + meditation teacher: that is a long story — kind of a rupture, of sorts, as all good stories are. (You can read the full story on my blog called, appropriately, My Naked Transition Story.) But the short answer is that I was looking for the right container for my work. And a big part of my passion is to be very invitational into the inner life. I have found coaching and meditation to be clean ways that I can offer this support to people. Also when they invest in their own process, I find they take the transformational journey really seriously, which lets us move together through shifts faster. Plus I love that I am location independent and can work with people from anywhere (I coach over the phone.)

Ordinary Mystic: Bird in Hand is a creative name for your business. What’s the meaning behind it?

Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton: Two parts. One a thrift store, one Parker Palmer. Essentially I had this fun vintage decorative sign which said “Bird in Hand Tavern” — it was floating around my house and I could never find the right space for it. One day I realized that was the name for this new venture! I love the resonance with the phrase “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” and think culturally we are often chasing the next thing when valuing what we hold is actually the more potent medicine. I want Bird in Hand to be an online watering hole for the spirit. I also love Parker Palmer’s idea that the soul is like a wild animal. And if we go stomping through the forest of our own lives, we scare it away.

Ordinary Mystic: You are launching a powerful program for women called Soulpreneur Mastermind. Can you explain your intention behind this three-month project? What do you hope participants will gain from this experience?

Courtney Pinkerton: My intention is for the Soulpreneur Mastermind to be a greenhouse for women’s growing edges. Whether they want to write more or in a new container, to start a new business or side business or another creative or community venture. Or maybe they don’t yet know what they want to create but simply would enjoy the community and whitespace to attend to some soul rumblings. So participants will get a lovely community of fellow women navigating this same territory (including a private Facebook group and live coaching calls) plus my favorite coaching tools for taking large goals and breaking them down into “turtle steps” so they are actionable: The Change Cycle, Finding Your Freedom Schedule, and What is Your Superpower? aka the Enneagram.

Ordinary Mystic: Why is it important to create spaces such as Soulpreneur for women to explore their dreams and vocations?

Courtney Pinkerton: The transition from the nonprofit world to entrepreneurial life was pretty challenging for me but such a potent teacher. I think whatever our soul is inspiring us to create can be trusted to fill in the gaps on what we have learned so far. But it can be so much harder in isolation. Or when we take our tender nudges and share it with people who are wrestling their own gremlins and so might squash our emerging vision. Saying, for example, you will never make money at that or it couldn’t work. This is another area I see soulful women struggle: how to get clear on what they are creating and risk sharing that in a world which can be harsh. I think this group will incubate those dreams so they are more hardy and ready to go wherever they need to be planted.

You can watch a quick video of Courtney’s program and read more here. Plus, she is offering a friend’s bonus for women who want to join together.

Ordinary Mystic: I love that you’re using the Enneagram in this program. I learned the Enneagram through studying with Richard Rohr at the Center for Action and Contemplation’s Living School, and have found it such a useful tool. Can you give readers a taster for how the Enneagram can help catalyze greater self-knowledge and freedom?

Courtney Pinkerton: Aaah, the Enneagram. I couldn’t stop talking about the Enneagram when I went through my own rupture I mean spiritual awakening now five or six years ago. It was such a lifeline (I lead with type 3, the Achiever, if any of your readers are curious.) And I came to realize I didn’t want to stop talking about it. My first teacher actually learned the Enneagram from Richard Rohr and I had the privilege of speaking a couple of times at conferences with him about postmodern Christianity. In the last several years my studies have turned to the Narrative Tradition of the Enneagram. I love helping people connect to their own story of their type as well as the somatic or body dimension of their type structure (our personality lives not just in our head but as full body neural pathways.)

So how will we be using the Enneagram? To help participants in the Mastermind identify the roadblocks and obstacles they trip over again and again as well as their gifts (often these are two sides of the same coin.) Plus growing into soul nudges is usually a stretch. The Enneagram is the most powerful tool I know of for self-awareness, and ultimately we can use this awareness to kind of “hang on” when we are growing and even to care well for ourselves. I think it makes us brave and comforted at the same time. And is a resource people can go back to again and again.

fallcoachinggifts2016

New Opportunities 

Would you enjoy some support heading into the holiday season? Would you like to savor + nourish the good stuff in your life as you also edit out those old obligations which no longer serve you? Would you like to draw a sacred circle around your own priorities — whether you feel the nudge to make a shift in your relationships or employment, to write more, or simply to feel better from the inside out? Plus guidance on how to practice exquisite self care as you grow and stretch? I am so delighted to offer two slots for new or renewing coaching clients starting in December + including my fun Autumn bonus gifts. I regularly invest in coaching support myself and can tell you it is so much easier to make those changes you have been wanting to make with some accountability and encouragement by your side. Read all about my signature coaching program here + reply here with any questions or to get started! xo Courtney

Want to get the latest from Courtney?



Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life 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. You can read more about her coaching options here or Courtney can be reached directly at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

Your Next Step

twofeet

 

We walk with two feet — I was told by a mentor many years ago.

The left foot of contemplation and the right foot of social action.

In times of stress the first thing to go can be the open heart.

We cave in, we shield up. Our breath shallows.

Today all I can share is an invitation.

We need women and men with deeply watered souls able to discern and engage in inspired action.

And in our culture which doesn’t appreciate slow and which loves forward movement it can feel like there isn’t time to meditate.

Isn’t space to drink from this inner well.

Do.

So when you feel the impulse to download another podcast

Or to turn to social media

Or nervous chatter with your partner or friend to process the big movements of energy swirling through our body politic.

At least some of the time, make that choice to unhook from the external plane.

And to drop in.

To receive.

You might even check in with your posture right now. Are your shoulders drooping? Can you slide them down your back and feel some elongation in your spine?

And if meditating seems impossible due to the high intensity of your thoughts or emotions–

Practice exquisite self care. Attend to your creature body and discharge some of that energy:

Indulge in the yoga class or home practice

Rub geranium essential oil on your chest (it is a mood booster and nourishing for the heart)

Tap.

Create dates with yourself (at least a few moments each day) to sit in the rocking chair and feel some strong feelings.

And other dates for action: donating to the groups which inspire you, putting community volunteerism or demonstrations in your calendar, making concrete those next few steps which are yours to do.

We breathe in and we breathe out. And we do it again.

Creating space for ourselves and for deep democracy along the way.

Love,

Courtney
PS I’m re-sharing my Vintage Bird post on the Heart of Democracy below if you missed it on election day. There is so much pain and division in our country currently. I took comfort in rereading the third practice on non-dual seeing and wanted to share it again with you.
xo Courtney

Vintage Bird: The Heart of Democracy               *Originally published Nov 6 2012

Parker and CourtneyCourtney + Parker Palmer, Author of Healing the Heart of Democracy

I’m a political junkie. While I try to limit my kiddos TV consumption, I’ll happily plop them all in front of Dora so I can catch a bit of election commentary on NPR. I tune into the debates and savor the post game pundits. I’ve re watched every episode of West Wing online (that counts as politics, right?). I tear up at convention speeches; I vote early.

An when I was younger, I got into pretty heated conversations with people over my political views. (Ok it can still happen.)

This passion somewhat exists in tension with my desire to be a conscious, calm and peace-loving person.

In fact, in my twenties I felt like I had two different personalities: Courtney #1 loved volunteering on political campaigns, interning in DC, drinking beer and trading electoral factoids. Courtney #2 read Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, and learned to meditate. Of course these aren’t mutually exclusive interests, but at the time I lived like they were.

But increasingly– I’ve found some guides who connect the dots. One of my favorite authors, Parker Palmer, has a lovely book called Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics worthy of the Human Spirit. He writes thoughtfully about how to create space in relationships that can hold the tension of political differences in a life-giving way. (Starting with holding well the tensions in our own hearts. )

I am also learning to temper some of the heat of my political passion with an appreciation of the political process itself. Not focusing so much on how people vote but that they vote. Maybe i’m an idealist, but i believe in the wisdom of the body politic. Sure i have my preferences, but I also find satisfaction in the collective experience of political expression.

OK I know its flawed– that there is a lot of money in politics and problems with voter laws and important reforms yet be made. But still, our democracy has good bones. We have much on which to stand to create the society we want for ourselves and our children. And in order to access it we must call upon what Abraham Lincoln in his first inaugural address describes as, “the better angels of our nature.”

Here I share some thoughts for a consciously -observed election day:

1) Vote. The experience itself is a satisfying act and ritual– try to breathe and be aware as you do it. And be kind to the people working the polls. i worked the polls once and it was a really fascinating and long day. Many of the volunteers are retirees who return year after year– not because they are getting big financial payoffs, but often out of civic passion.

2. Support your peoples (or candidate or party). This is the antidote to the nihilism that permeates postmodern life (an attitude that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.) It feels good to be willing to participate in a story bigger than oneself, and to contribute money or time to things we believe in. It means that it matters, and that we believe leadership impacts our daily lives.

3. Practice non-dual seeing. This is the trickiest bit, but it is essential for cultivating mature, peaceful people and societies. Non-dual seeing is the oldest spiritual practice there is. In the Christian tradition it is called contemplation. From the Buddhist perspective it is mindfulness. We all share a tendency to receive the present moment and immediately categorize different dimensions of it good or bad. This opens the door for judging and criticizing everything and offering ourselves a relentless inner monologue about it all. In so doing we can miss the texture and subtleties of life. Non-dual seeing is the practice of noticing the present moment and allowing reality to be what it is, always and everywhere a combination of good and bad. So, no name calling. And when the going gets tough, when you just cant imagine why someone believes what they do, turn to curiosity–  wondering what kind of life story led a person to those views. Make it up if you have to. Use it as an opportunity to cultivate your own empathy. (Here is a guided loving kindness meditation if you need some support.)

And together we can all draw from the wisdom from the past– like this quote from 1774:

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them, 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy: 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against: And, 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”  John Wesley

We all have the power to preserve the art of civil conversation and to create safe space for deep democracy.

I’m Courtney Pinkerton. And I approved this message.

New Opportunities 

Would you enjoy some support heading into the holiday season? Would you like to savor + nourish the good stuff in your life as you also edit out those old obligations which no longer serve you? Would you like to draw a sacred circle around your own priorities — whether you feel the nudge to make a shift in your relationships or employment, to write more, or simply to feel better from the inside out? Plus guidance on how to practice exquisite self care as you grow and stretch? I am so delighted to offer two slots for new or renewing coaching clients this month including my fun Autumn bonus gifts. I regularly invest in coaching support myself and can tell you it is so much easier to make those changes you have been wanting to make with some accountability and encouragement by your side. Read all about my signature coaching program here + reach out to me at cp@courtneypinkerton.com with questions or to get started! xo Courtney

fallcoachinggifts2016

 



Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life 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. You can read more about her coaching options here or Courtney can be reached directly at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

Dear Democracy, I love you. Tips for Enjoying a Conscious Election Day

pollingstation

I wrote a love note to our democracy on social media this week and wanted to share it here with all of you. (Want to connect with me on Facebook or Instagram? Let’s do it!) I’m also sharing a vintage Bird in Hand favorite on how to navigate election day with breath + ease. Thought we might need that one in hand for today.

Yours,

Courtney

Dear Democracy. I love you. I know these last few months have been challenging, but maybe they sparked conversations we needed to have? I am so grateful to live here and be part of this system, raw and imperfect but drawing on what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” I believe in you. And my kids need you grow stronger through passionate discourse and thoughtful reflections and the voting of everyday people using their hearts and minds to make their best choice. I toast to you on this day when I took my kids to the early voting poll location and showed them how it’s done. (Ok I might have been a teeny bit more excited about this process than they were.. but they got a sticker.) And an introduction to something beautiful. A lifelong relationship. So take a deep breath. You can do this. And Thank you.
#democracyisprecious #thegoodstuff

Vintage Bird: The Heart of Democracy

*Originally published Nov 6 2012

Parker and Courtney

Courtney + Parker Palmer, Author of Healing the Heart of Democracy

I’m a political junkie. While I try to limit my kiddos TV consumption, I’ll happily plop them all in front of Dora so I can catch a bit of election commentary on NPR. I tune into the debates and savor the post game pundits. I’ve re watched every episode of West Wing online (that counts as politics, right?). I tear up at convention speeches; I vote early.

An when I was younger, I got into pretty heated conversations with people over my political views. (Ok it can still happen.)

This passion somewhat exists in tension with my desire to be a conscious, calm and peace-loving person.

In fact, in my twenties I felt like I had two different personalities: Courtney #1 loved volunteering on political campaigns, interning in DC, drinking beer and trading electoral factoids. Courtney #2 read Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, and learned to meditate. Of course these aren’t mutually exclusive interests, but at the time I lived like they were.

But increasingly– I’ve found some guides who connect the dots. One of my favorite authors, Parker Palmer, has a lovely book called Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics worthy of the Human Spirit. He writes thoughtfully about how to create space in relationships that can hold the tension of political differences in a life-giving way. (Starting with holding well the tensions in our own hearts. )

I am also learning to temper some of the heat of my political passion with an appreciation of the political process itself. Not focusing so much on how people vote but that they vote. Maybe i’m an idealist, but i believe in the wisdom of the body politic. Sure i have my preferences, but I also find satisfaction in the collective experience of political expression.

OK I know its flawed– that there is a lot of money in politics and problems with voter laws and important reforms yet be made. But still, our democracy has good bones. We have much on which to stand to create the society we want for ourselves and our children. And in order to access it we must call upon what Abraham Lincoln in his first inaugural address describes as, “the better angels of our nature.”

Here I share some thoughts for a consciously -observed election day:

1) Vote. The experience itself is a satisfying act and ritual– try to breathe and be aware as you do it. And be kind to the people working the polls. i worked the polls once and it was a really fascinating and long day. Many of the volunteers are retirees who return year after year– not because they are getting big financial payoffs, but often out of civic passion.

2. Support your peoples (or candidate or party). This is the antidote to the nihilism that permeates postmodern life (an attitude that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.) It feels good to be willing to participate in a story bigger than oneself, and to contribute money or time to things we believe in. It means that it matters, and that we believe leadership impacts our daily lives.

3. Practice non-dual seeing. This is the trickiest bit, but it is essential for cultivating mature, peaceful people and societies. Non-dual seeing is the oldest spiritual practice there is. In the Christian tradition it is called contemplation. From the Buddhist perspective it is mindfulness. We all share a tendency to receive the present moment and immediately categorize different dimensions of it good or bad. This opens the door for judging and criticizing everything and offering ourselves a relentless inner monologue about it all. In so doing we can miss the texture and subtleties of life. Non-dual seeing is the practice of noticing the present moment and allowing reality to be what it is, always and everywhere a combination of good and bad. So, no name calling. And when the going gets tough, when you just cant imagine why someone believes what they do, turn to curiosity–  wondering what kind of life story led a person to those views. Make it up if you have to. Use it as an opportunity to cultivate your own empathy. (Here is a guided loving kindness meditation if you need some support.)

And together we can all draw from the wisdom from the past– like this quote from 1774:

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them, 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy: 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against: And, 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”  John Wesley

We all have the power to preserve the art of civil conversation and to create safe space for deep democracy.

I’m Courtney Pinkerton. And I approved this message.

New Opportunities 

Would you enjoy some support heading into the holiday season? Would you like to savor + nourish the good stuff in your life as you also edit out those old obligations which no longer serve you? Would you like to draw a sacred circle around your own priorities — whether you feel the nudge to write more, to make a shift in your relationships or employment, or simply to feel better from the inside out? Plus guidance on how to practice exquisite self care as you grow and stretch? I am so delighted to offer two one on one slots for new or renewing coaching clients this month including my fun Autumn bonus gifts. I regularly invest in coaching support myself and can tell you it feels so much better to make those changes you have been wanting to make with some accountability and encouragement by your side. Read all about my signature coaching program here and reach out to cp@courtneypinkerton.com with any questions or to schedule your complementary first coaching session! xo Courtney

fallcoachinggifts2016

 

Slow Living + My Journey Over the River

leaves_in_hand

Some day I’ll tell you about this health/diet shift I’m making. It requires me to eat less sugar + carbs to reset my gut health. This is the present I’m giving myself for my big birthday coming up next month (that and a trip to an artsy mountain town in Mexico with my man).

But for today I’ll just share that like any lifestyle shift, it doesn’t always go as planned. And there are moments of doubt, moments of talking myself down the wrong path even though I know it’s not a good idea i.e. “Surely I can eat these veggie chips…” (You know the kind which are basically potato chips but colored with beets and the like to make you feel better about eating them?)

Well it turns out that choice did not sit well with my body. And I ended up with some serious detox symptoms yesterday and spent many hours with a killer headache in bed.

By the end of the evening my husband asked how I was doing and I said I felt like I was crossing back over the river Styx.

(Thank you for indulging me. I’m reanimating my love of Greek mythology via reading the Percy Jackson series with my kids.)

But as I re-entered the land of the living last night I carried a fresh lesson in my pocket: the beauty of going slow.

Now if this invitation to slow down just pisses you off because you have so much to do: hear me out.

This might be just the post for you.

I am not a natural slow eater or a slow liver. In fact I’m a recovering overachiever who in my 20s and early 30s moved pretty fast accumulating awards and grad degrees and international travel and falling in love and starting my family kind of all at the same time. (Did I ever tell you about leading an international group of volunteers up a mountain in Honduras to help resource a health clinic serving poor farmers when I was 5 months pregnant with our son? I look back at me riding that freaking donkey and I can’t even imagine what I was thinking…)

I had a lot to prove. I was still drinking the Kool-Aid of my Ennea type structure which suggests that I have to earn my keep. To sing for my supper. To generate or produce to have value. (You may recognize these pressures even if you have a different personality type as we live in a very achievement-oriented culture.)

In fact something I observe in my coaching practice of busy women is how common it is, encouraged even, to move through life doing, giving, producing, care-taking. On autopilot. A little bit numb.

The go slow button broken.

How do you know this is happening for you?

Here is a major clue—your senses can’t keep up with your breakneck speed.

When was the last time you really saw deeply the colors or patterns of a fall leaf?

Heard the laughter of your children, voice of your partner or a dear friend?

Tasted a sensual meal?

It sounds crazy to ask these questions — of course you have seen, heard, tasted.

But I think you know what I mean.

There is seeing and then there is seeing: those moments where life seems to be in Technicolor.

Sometimes this occurs in the wake of tragedy, illness or heart-cracking beauty.

This is the lesson I’m reminded of as I gently come back into my regular life today:

The senses-heightened or technicolor quality of life is actually right here all around me. And all around you.

I notice it in the feel of my daughter’s hand as I walk her to school this morning.

The pink pattern of the clouds in the sky as the day warms.

The adorableness of all three of my children dressed for western day at school in blue jeans and boots with fringe. (Well, that was just the ladies. Coleman would not wear fringe anywhere.)

The pleasure of opening my eyes after my morning meditation and rubbing our kitty Beatrix for a few minutes before I start the day.

Of drinking my first cup of tea.

Of writing this love note to you.

Man the world looks different when you remember how good it feels to not have a headache.

So my intention today is to continue to move slowly.

Will you join me?

Moving slowly may require the setting of an elegant boundary.

And remembering to include yourself and your innermost priorities as central in the life you are creating.

Maybe even using your body compass to remove a task from your to-do list.

Or a reset – like pausing to drink in a meditation detox during your lunch break.

But this slow life is yours for the taking. Or better stated: yours for the drinking in.

Now over to you. How could you move more slowly today to awaken your senses? Join the conversation over in my Bird in Hand Facebook group + let me know how it goes! xo Courtney

New Opportunities 

I have two slots for new coaching clients opening in November + would love to help you design a life which fits you from the inside out! I coach only a small number of one on one clients at a time – so I can really help you nurture those new habits. I’m also offering some Autumnlicious coaching gifts. Reply here with questions, to set up a complementary coaching session or to get started!
xo Courtney

fallcoachinggifts2016

Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life 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. You can read more about her coaching options here or Courtney can be reached directly at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

 

Coaching for Soulful Women