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.
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
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?
Courtney 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.
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
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Courtney 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.