Category Archives: Natural Parenting

Our First Month in Nicaragua – Photos Revealed!

I realized this week that I have been holding something back from you. Out of fear.

It is funny that after five years of mining my inner process and sharing that experience in my coaching and writing I realize that I am now afraid…. of revealing how happy I am.

I have taught and coached so much about the heartbreak that comes from living a life which doesn’t fit and how I used to feel trapped in a relationship with work which required me to prove and push and strive to make any meaningful progress.

And how in an effort to heal my one very broken heart I ended up discovering and creating the process I now guide clients through and which I describe in my new book The Flourish Formula. (Coming this Fall!)

The FLOURISH steps lead us out of that place of rupture to a place where we can thrive. It is a journey of creating a life which fits you so authentically that it supports you rather than having to feel like you are the one holding it together all the time — giving, helping, leading, creating, striving, and reaching.

But what I didn’t expect in this transition to Nicaragua is the impulse to keep my experiences close and to not fully share how beautiful this move has been for our family. While I have been posting some on social media I’ve also been holding back — caught in an internal push/pull. In a way I guess I was afraid of being judged. Or that I would be seen as bragging or worse as false or a cliche.

Do you ever feel this way?

It makes me wonder why is it easier to be honest about the challenges than the joys and celebrations?

And why would I hold the good stuff back?

So I have decided I’m not going to.

Because here is the honest truth — I have never been happier.

Yes it has only been a month and of course we miss our beloved friends and family in the U.S. But Nicaragua felt like a kind of home to me when I lived here fifteen years ago and I have been relieved and delighted to slip back into that feeling once again.

And to drink in the crazy pleasure of living in a town as lovely as Granada, the Paris of Central America. Every house painted a different hue.

And of taking my children to swim on beaches with black volcanic sand and to watch them grow shinier and more confident in Spanish day by day.

And to have my husband now working with me (something I haven’t really shared with you before now. I’ll give him a proper intro and explain more how he will be supporting Bird in Hand Coaching soon). I think were were both surprised and excited about the opportunity for collaboration which opened as we stepped into this new framework for our life in Nicaragua.

And part of the process of getting comfortable sharing fully all that is going well has been to really recognize that part of me that at times has judged other women or avoided celebrating their successes — feeling that life was somehow a zero sum game. Holding to the painful idea that each accomplishment she marked off her list somehow diminished me.

This is a false economy. And I realize I’m being invited to let that habit go — even in the funny little corners of my mind where it has been hanging on (i.e. that one coach I met a long time ago when we were both just starting out who now has a gazillion followers on Instagram and makes 100K a month. I know, I know.)

It means I need to nod at the Divine in her and wish her well. Knowing that even if what she shares rubs me the wrong way that her dream life and business honestly doesn’t have anything to do with mine. Other than to affirm that so very many things are possible.

So what does this mean? Nothing is changing really– I’ll keep writing you my weekly love notes about what is stirring over here and sharing the best content I have about how to Flourish: in your inner life, your meditation practice, your relationships, your work, toda su vida.

Because I think we are all actually made to feel this good. It is just that we are required to clean out the inner clutter and restructure some things on the outside to arrive here more fully. And we don’t all start from the same place — life is totally not fair on that front. Some of us get dished up many more challenges and fewer resources. Yet we are all always invited forward into our own unique expression of a beautiful life. It is our birthright and our soul or our true essence always knows our way here.

Not that there is one specific place so much — flourishing is less a finish line than a felt sense. A homecoming. Settling into a life which rather than being hard and heavy and full of obligations which leave you unsatisfied and weighed down instead surprises and delights and buoyes you up.

This is what I want for all of us! Especially because this way of living actually frees up our energy for the contributions which are uniquely ours to make. Our legacy work.

So I’m committing to sharing my celebrations and to whole-heartedly honoring yours. In fact increasingly I think that celebrating another’s pleasure and success may be one of the fastest ways we draw it into our own lives.

Below I share some of the most luscious pics of our first month in Nicaragua, courtesy of my husband. Who in addition to being a beautiful human, is a beautiful photographer.

And I want to thank you all for your kindness and encouragement as we went through this big change. There is so much yet to figure out (school options, permanent housing) before we really land but so much to celebrate right where we are.

Love and all the good,

Courtney

PS. Would you like more info on the 8 step FLOURISH process and early access to my new book? You can schedule a complementary Discovery Session here to learn all about my new signature coaching program and upcoming retreat in Nicaragua. I really enjoy these no obligation calls which give you a taste of coaching and how I work with women. (Many report feeling lighter after them.) So whether you have worked with me before and are interested in a refresher or you are new to the world of coaching, I hope you will grab one today — I’d love the chance to help you discern and take concrete steps toward your custom FLOURISH Formula. xo

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 and is the creator of the 8 step FLOURISH Coaching program. Courtney loves hosting retreats for women in nature and beauty-drenched locales, her next one will be held in Granada, Nicaragua October 20-23rd. In live events and through her coaching Courtney helps busy women unlock their greatest gifts and thrive in their personal lives. This summer she moved to Nicaragua with her husband Richard Amory and their three children where together they are exploring volcanic islands, colonial cities, and area beaches to find their perfect spot to land. Interested to learn more about her FLOURISH coaching program or upcoming retreat? You can schedule your complimentary discovery session here

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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.

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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.

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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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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

Almost Wordless: Glamping Gold

Glamping

“We need a coat with two pockets. In one pocket there is dust, and in one pocket there is gold. We need a coat with two pockets to remind us who we are.” Parker Palmer

I spent Spring Break glamping with my family in the Hill Country (that’s Texas, y’all. Nearish Austin.) Glamping = glamorous camping. Airbnb is full of such fun. We enjoyed a safari-style tent and a turquoise bathtub under the stars at this lovely stay at the FreeSpirit Farmhouse.

On the one hand, the beauty of our trip filled me. Feeding the donkey’s carrots. Watching the sun set.  Hiking Enchanted Rock.

Donkeys

Sunset

Enchanted Rock

And on the other hand nothing makes me feel more mortal and depleted than unfiltered time with the youngins. (How is it that introverts are supposed to breed ? This mama needs alone time to function. )

Somedays I can get all hyper searching for that perfect balance. I think that is why I like Parker Palmer’s quote. Increasingly I just want to be present. To the gold and the dust.

Awake to the “too-muchness” of life.

Including an awareness of vulnerability — mine and others. Something I felt acutely aware of this week as the NPR coverage was too tragic to listen to or digest with kids in the car.

So on this day where you too may be full of the “too-muchness” of life I hope you know that I love to have you as part of this Bird in Hand posse and to think of you in your own context — inspiring and supporting others, often (likely) without even knowing it. And getting to be your authentic self, limits and all. In other words, sprinkling dust and gold wherever you go.

Warmly,

Courtney

PS So if you didn’t have like 45 minutes to read my blog post last week on decluttering (what can I say, I get excited at that theme!) I’ve brought the fun part, i.e. the bonuses for my Spring Clean coaching package, up top here so you see them. I have 3 spots left, wondering if one of them is yours? Xo

PPS Ghost Ranch is upon us! i am sooooo excited by the women who are gathering for this intimate retreat in New Mexico April 7-10. There are a couple of spots remaining so if you are feeling like this one is not to be missed I say honor that impulse and go for it! I can’t wait to spend three whole days sharing my favorite MindBody tools and enjoying heart-thumping hikes and conversation with change-makers. xo

Spring Clean

Spring Clean Coaching Package Bonuses

life-changing magic

Your copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.*

*If you already have this one I’ll gift you instead Marie Kondo’s brand new companion book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.

Alison+OSNS

One complementary 45 minute coaching session + 15 minute followup call with Alison from OldSpaceNewSpace to help you problem-solve that part of your house which is the hardest to keep organized.

Courtney + Melissa

One 45 minute coaching session with Melissa from EnduraLife + additional resources + recipes to help you detox your body through high quality nutrition. (Here I am with Melissa on a walk at a nearby nature preserve dreaming up collaborations.)

Plus a guided tour of one of my favorite coaching tools, called the Living Space Tool, from Martha Beck. Using this tool we will explore the area of least satisfaction in your home and how that space is similar to other aspects of your life. And identify concrete next steps to make it better.

So that is it! You can read all the details including pricing about my transformational coaching package here. These spring cleaning bonuses apply to both a 6 or 10 session package. It is a great time of year for some cleaning house. Book your complementary laser coaching session today and let’s get started! xo

Upcoming Live Events

MindBodySpirit

Join me at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico for a special retreat.

Dates: April 7 – April 10, 2016

This workshop will be offered in the beautiful Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch (near Georgio O’Keefe’s iconic home) and include multiple mind/body tools to help you support yourself in and through those high-stress moments which are part of being a change-maker.The course includes guided meditations, lessons on tapping or acupressure, aromatherapy, ample time to hike and enjoy nature and as well as specific mind/body coaching techniques.

You can read all the details and learn more about a bonus gift offer here.

Price: Starts at $525 (including 3 nights lodging and meals.)  Register Today

I have also tucked in a few answers to common questions below.
xo Courtney

 

Ghost Ranch Q & A

How do I get there? Albuquerque and Santa Fe are the closest airports. You can take a shuttle from the Santa Fe Sage Inn or rent a car to drive to the ranch. (Bring a friend and share the car rental!) You can also read more detailed directions regarding the shuttle ($40 roundtrip) over on the Ghost Ranch website.

What is the menu?  Meals are served cafeteria style, with choice of indoor or outdoor dining. Menus include vegetarian entrees. A salad bar is featured at lunch and dinner each day. Ghost Ranch has a Farm to Table program using their own seasonal farm produce whenever possible. We also have our own kitchen at Casa del Sol if you need to bring your own food for any reason. Gluten free options are available for breakfast. (Email me for details.)

Can I come on Friday? Yes. We do have one group gathering Thursday night on the Change Cycle, but if you know you need to miss that one I can send you the handout and answer any questions ahead of time. Our Friday morning session (after meditation) starts at 10AM.

Will I have time to rest? Yes! Don’t let fatigue or the fact that you “don’t have time” stop you from participating as it may mean that you need the respite even more. Every afternoon is completely free to explore heart-thumping hikes (and views) or just to nap, journal, and chat with others.
PS Next week is spring break and I’ll be glamping in the Hill country with my people. But you can expect me to pick back up with Myth #4 in my Shine Series on myths which keep us from reaching our juiciest goals upon my return. If you missed the first three myths busted, you can check those out below.

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.

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How to Freshen Up Your Holiday Traditions

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One question I learned at Harvard changed things for me: instead of

What do You Believe?

Ask

What do You Belove?

A professor at the Divinity School told our class that we get the meaning of the word “believe” all wrong in our culture. We think it means that we need to surrender our intellectual capacities and cling to a spiritual idea even in the face of doubt or confusion. In fact, she suggested, the fuller definition of the verb “to believe” is closer to the old English “to belove.”

In other words to say “I believe in something… ” is better understood as a bow from the heart and not merely a nod from the head.

Advent Wreath _Closeup

Is there a practice from your inherited or chosen spiritual path that you belove?

How might you honor it or give it a fresh gloss this season?

I try to provide some basic structure to our celebrations but also take the lead from my children: asking what are they/we needing this year?

This question keeps my ears to the ground: listening for what we are hungry for and asking how can we use the season to draw a sacred circle around that which genuinely nourishes us.

And keep distractions and extra stress at bay!

Asking what I belove also keeps me from being wed to any aspect of the the tradition which feel stale and creates space to weave new experiences among the beautiful bones of the stories and celebrations we have inherited. 

One practice which forms the foundation of the season for us is creating an Advent wreath– an ancient practice of waiting for Christmas which is infused with a green sensibility. (I love decorating in such a way that I can dump the whole lot of it in the compost pile when the celebration is done:)

This week we placed special stones around the wreath as we light the first candle—hope. I love how the wreath starts out rather stark and bare and then week by week we add layers which symbolize the various candles lit: love, joy, peace, and ultimately the Christ Candle on Christmas Eve. Bit by bit the wreath fills with life. If you use aromatic herb bundles like thyme and rosemary it also smells amazing.  (You can see more pics and download full directions here).

What practices do you belove?  What is stopping you from building your holiday season around them?

Courtney

PS Are you feeling like you would like to craft some new personal or family traditions but aren’t sure where to start? Or maybe you know you want to keep elements from the past but also freshen them in a way which matches who you are at this stage of life? Schedule your DIY Coaching Session today (I have a few slots left this month on my online calendar this month — grab one which is convenient for you) and we will co-create a simple plan for a holiday season full of meaning and joy!xo Courtney

Photo Oct 01, 12 56 17 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 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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You Can Grow Roots + Wings (You don’t have to choose)

Big Sky Country

This pic is from last week’s vacation to my parent’s retreat house in the North/West Texas hills. Big sky country is always good for my soul. While away I thought about our need as people for both roots and wings. It is good to know where you come from and to let yourself dream big.

For me connecting to roots is enjoying no-makeup, unplugged time in a house with a big porch in a small town where I get to finally make that lemon pie I have been dreaming of for about 5 months. And drinking my coffee on the swing and going to sleep with train whistles and the heavy silence of stars overhead. When connected to my roots I remember who my kids are when they have no where else to be and nothing else to do but lose themselves in a day-long vision board/collage project. But deep in that space of rest and “non-doing” I also find clarity about my desires, professional and otherwise. (Like the dream of doing a live coaching intensive in an eco-treehouse in Nicaragua. This place calls to me I tell you! I just need a few hardy souls to go test it out with me…. let me know if you think you might be one.)

See how this works? The simple stuff and the stretch stuff, they seem worlds apart but actually they inhabit your same inner ecosystem.  And dreaming from this deep place, what Martha Beck calls your “core of peace” is so much more powerful than surface level grabbiness.

So where do you find your roots?

And where do your wings want to take you?

You can have both you know. You don’t have to choose.

xo

Courtney

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 and meditation and helps busy women unlock their greatest professional contributions and flourish in their personal 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 or you can read more about coaching options and retreats at www.courtneypinkerton.com.
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Your Valentine + Making Time for Unimpressive but Squeal-Worthy Practices

Photo Aug 07, 1 05 24 PM

I know Valentine’s Day is kind of made up + commercial and all that. But I have to admit I’ve been feeling an extra dose of love lately. There is a sweetness in my life + experience that reminds me of what I have been looking for for the past several years. When Rosetta, our third, was a toddler and I decided to leave my job as the pastor of an emerging church — a role with a lot of creativity, leadership opportunities (and challenges) and a salary — I sort of felt at a loss. I knew I needed to move out of that role to honor some inner nudges, starting with my desire to be more present to my children and also more freedom to write + teach. Yet I also wondered (and felt very afraid of the answer) where else I might find the space to do the work called out of me.

And so began an epic journey with many stumbles into the realm of soulful entrepreneurialism. As this journey took shape I remember one thought which felt like a guiding light. {warning: this is a glimpse into my slightly morbid thought process}. I would look at parents who had kids in the hospital or gravely ill and how they talked about a bubble being popped in that experience– how they looked back at their life pre illness and saw how very good they had had it.  And that they were even learning to be grateful for the sweetness in their present day struggles.

Having a sick kid strikes me as the master class for self-awareness or personal development work. And I looked at those parents (not people i knew well but more friends of friends whose story I followed on Facebook) and I was inspired by them. I saw myself in their description of being “asleep at the wheel” or at the very least distracted from really appreciating the good things in my life. And I realized that I don’t want to wait for a big traumatic thing to wake me up to the sweetness that is here. I want to know how to taste it now. Not in a “I should be grateful” way but in a “this life rocks and I’m present enough to enjoy it” way.

And this Valentine’s day season, I have been tasting the sweetness. There are many reasons for this– I have had the opportunity to teach some pretty juicy stuff lately, especially in my Parenting with the Enneagram ecourse with Nancy Goodman as well as an opportunity to coach/teach as part of a leadership development program. (Which just happens to be bringing my all time favorite community organizing material– from a teacher at Harvard Kennedy School — to North Texas. More on this experience soon.)

But and this is the key bit, beyond finding my work satisfying– there is also space in my life for those crazy things which are not work yet bring me deep pleasure. I say crazy because I sometimes feel like I might be, when I look at how happy it makes me to engage in certain activities which are not at all impressive to my social self. Things like rooting succulents, making valentines out of travel magazines and discovering a new recipe my family (all five of us!) really enjoys. I mean these are things that my achiever personality is pretty unimpressed with. But my essential self squeals with delights and gets lost in them. The essential self, it turns out, is a simple soul who likes simple fare.

Valentines

Rooting_Succulent
I may need an intervention. What started as one plant from my Granny has now turned into 11 Valentine’s Day gifts.

Now there are still days when my kids have to drag me from the computer screen and tell me to come push them on the swing. And there are evenings like this one when I finish a blog post with orange ear plugs blocking out the sounds of the Beach Boys + dinner prep in the next room. But more and more whether in my coaching, teaching, and most importantly in my down time I find it easier to show up with the fullness of who I am, wherever I am.

And I can’t tell you how much better that feels than all my previous efforts to squeeze myself into various roles: mom, activist, smart student whatever. And to find my meaning from the outside in.

That, it turns out, is backwards. And unsatisfying.

So if this resonates for you i just want to say– Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you give yourself a big box of chocolates, Fair-trade flowers or a visit to the massage chair. Because by your very path to read this blog I suspect that you too are on your journey to living more and more out of your essential self. And this is, undeniably, irresistibly, for the good of you, your fam, your work, your community and our planet.

So this is my effort to redeem an overly commercialized day with some genuine love from me to you.

Do you feel it?

love and all the good,

Courtney

PS I have designed a flexible coaching option for you called DIY coaching, which allows you to schedule coaching directly on my online calendar. Grab a spot for yourself today! xo

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UpLevel Filming

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 young children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at cp@courtneypinkerton.com or you can schedule a complementary clarity session to talk more.

What is Your Small, Beautiful Thing?

Gold Dust in Pocket

One of my professors in Divinity school talked about the power of the small, beautiful thing. Nothing noble, nothing earth-changing, not a treatise or magnum opus. Just the feeling of clicking into the world in the right way + sharing your little piece. An offering.

Today, Birder, for many reasons (having to do with the combination of the start of my Parenting eCourse + a feverish little one) all I have is one small beautiful thing.  A favorite quote:

“We need a coat with two pockets. In one pocket there is dust, and in one pocket there is gold. We need a coat with two pockets to remind us who we are.” Parker Palmer

Remember who you are. A bit of both. And this is good.

What is your small, beautiful thing today?

Perhaps it is a piece of art, or interaction with nature, or poetry which lights you up…Whatever it is you can trust that it feeds you first before spilling over into the world.

xo

Courtney
PS Parenting with the Enneagram is now available as a self-study! Join Nancy Goodman + me on our journey to create more resiliency in yourself as a parent + in your child.

Register Today

There are nine vital messages we need to hear again and again, especially in childhood. When you purchase the self-study version of the Parenting with the Enneagram e-course you’ll receive beautiful meditation cards with these nine messages + tips for using them. What personality energies do you see in your child/ren? (The performer, the perfectionist, the enthusiast etc?) Come on this journey with us to learn about all nine types and how to work with them as parents.

Here again is the Registration Page: Parenting with the Enneagram: Nine Human Energies + How They Live in Children (scroll down to see the meditation cards + other bonuses.)

Not a parent? I’d be honored if you would share with a friend or on social media. Parenting can be lonely. It doesn’t have to be!

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How to Set Goals with Soul + Enjoy More Happy Dances

Post Yoga Cortado at Wild Detectives Coffee Shop + Bookstore

Being a soulful entrepreneur involves two main ingredients (or so I am learning). One is the deep dive: spiritual reflection, learning + reading. Which is my favorite part. (Did you know in my fantasy life I live in a cave?) The other key ingredient is hustle. That is the energy I’ve been relating to more this week as I’m sharing the word about (and recording content for) my ecourse to help parents work with their child’s personality.

Hustle is all well and good, but sometimes it trips my circuits. I can get caught up in a kind of push energy and lose my connection to Source. This has happened a few different times over the last week as I stretch and grow with the launch of this new material.  I usually know it is happening because I feel flooded with static. The present moment all but evaporates as I turn my attention to the question of what to do next.

Isn’t this often the place we get stuck? In those moments when our personality/ego is stirred up and we think we shouldn’t be.

My personality has a bad habit of telling me that I should be immune from growing pains. Unlike everyone else on earth, I need to remain perfectly centered + stress free as I navigate new territory.

“You are a life coach after all” she whispers in my ear.

“You teach meditation.”

“Isn’t it, like, your job to know how to handle growth?”

One of my coaching clients described this approach to life as the expectation that if you make a touchdown, you better look like you have been there before.

I kind of can’t believe I just used a sports metaphor, but I thought it was a good one. And I do live in the land of Friday Night Lights.

The problem with the voice which whispers such things in our ear is 1) its not true and 2) it keeps us from feeling the joy at what we have accomplished.

If I have to pretend I feel no anxiety in the stretch, I have to keep pretending that it is no big deal when I reach a goal.

This makes setting + reaching goals so much less fun.

So it turns out the only option is to consciously open the door to both visitors: the anxiety + the joy. And they have been pretty constant companions the last few days. When anxiety is visiting I freak out that I’m not doing as much as I should on social media to explain clearly + concisely how powerful I think this course material is for parents. (Thank the heavens for Aimee, my new social/marketing diva. She holds my hand and makes me tweetable.)

When joy visits I do a happy dance. Which you would have seen had you walked by my car right after yoga when I opened my email to discover two Canadians had signed up for my course.

I mean I love Candadians! But more than that I was flooded with happiness at the magic of connecting to + supporting other conscious parents even if they live far far away.

I got to celebrate shortly thereafter with a friend + a cortado at my favorite independent book store/coffee shop. (pictured above)

Did you know anxiety + excitement travel on the same neural pathways?

So the next time your little naysayer whispers in your ear, try this:

Pause and breathe deeply. (I know, I know. Everyone says this. But they tell you to do this because it works!)

Especially long slow exhales are calming to the nervous system. Often just that is enough to help your body reset. You may be surprised that you can then “read” the sensations differently– more positive and bubbly than static-y and overwhelming. Don’t take my word for it– try it out.

And remember to make space for the joy. 

Celebration is a vital part of fueling your growth, wherever you are headed.

xo

Courtney

In addition to deep breaths there are nine vital messages we need to hear again and again, especially in childhood. When you join the Parenting with the Enneagram e-course (now available as a self-study), you’ll receive beautiful meditation cards with these nine messages + tips for using them. What personality energies do you see in your child/ren? (The performer, the perfectionist, the enthusiast etc?) Come on this journey with us to learn about all nine types and how to work with them as parents.

Here is the link to purchase the self-study version of the course & gain immediate access to all six week’s of content: Parenting with the Enneagram: Nine Human Energies + How They Live in Children (scroll down to see the meditation cards + other bonuses.)

Not a parent? I’d be honored if you would share with a friend or on social media. Parenting can be lonely. It doesn’t have to be!

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

  

A Love Letter + Ways We Can Work Together in 2015

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Meditation Card for Upcoming Parenting with Enneagram Ecourse. Art by Skyler McGee.

As we start 2015 I feel the desire to be very clean + clear. To offer something which hasn’t been out there before: one tidy and brief (not my strong suit) description of all the ways we can work together. The price starts at free. I hope you will read on and reach out. But first, a love note from me to you.  (OK this part is not so brief! )

xo Courtney

Dear Birder,

You are talented but you know that success does not equal soul food. It is a fleeting friend at best. You believe your greatest work and life will come from saying yes to the knocks on the door of your heart.

This makes you a leader in a culture which values the outside over the inside and looking good over feeling good. To be a leader of this order means actually (here is the paradoxical bit) that you are a follower. You choose again and again to stop stomping through the forest of your own life and instead to sit still and listen. Then you hear your bird singing.

You desire to be whole, integrated & authentic. And sometimes you feel lonely on your path. There is a reason for the lonely! Living this way is a counter-cultural move. And it even runs against our habitual personality patterns, which are alive not just as mental habits but full-body neural pathways.

So this means also that you are brave.

The good news: there are more dynamic resources available to the soulful pilgrim in our time than perhaps in any other: ways to live in connection to our essential selves + in bright, shining community.

How? By finding access to wisdom teachers. By this I mean teachers + writers who tell the truth. But even more powerfully I mean those perennial resources which help you connect with your own inner teacher: things like the enneagram, meditation, + the labyrinth.

And that is what I aim to deliver to you—the best resources I know of for engaging in this transformational work not as an esoteric exercise but as a way of life.

So that you taste more moments of freedom.

So that you know how to hold your gifts in a way which nourishes you first… and then spills over into the world.

Because lets be clear. You don’t do this inner inquiry only for yourself.

It doesn’t work that way. You live it to give it. In your relationships. In your work. In your creative ventures.

And to support you in this process of paying it forward, you can expect more from me this year on conscious leadership + conscious parenting. Both are complex “contact zones” between inner awareness and the outside world. Both are spaces where mindfulness bears fruit whether in thriving + resilient children or communities. And both require somewhere solid to stand inside and tools for resetting when the pressure builds.

And of course meditation + the enneagram will continue to be my touchstones. Also an intention to create with and for you more community: for we are not meant to do this inner work alone.  So I hope you will look through all the opportunities for connecting this year (including some brand new options) and choose what is right for you. 

Sincerely,

Courtney

Pool at Belmont

*New* Build your own à la carte Coaching Package or sign up for a day retreat— like a spa for your soul! These are custom options and work well if you have a desire to get moving RIGHT now. You bring the specific question or struggle + I bring resources and together come up with a plan.  Includes written exercises, follow-up email support, and guided meditation. Details here.

Parenting with the Enneagram Video

Registration opened yesterday for my Parenting with the Enneagram: Nine Human Energies + How They Live in Children. This eCourse starts Jan 22. Early Bird Pricing available. 

Grow BigBird in Hand Coaching Intensive.  When you are ready to fertilize your growth, one-on-one support is the fastest (and least painful) way through the heat of inner transformational work + toward the fruit. Fit matters. Schedule a complementary clarity session for a taste of my coaching style + to answer any questions. 

Warm Cup of Tea*New* Coaching 2.0 For graduates of the Bird in Hand Coaching Intensive. In sessions 10-20 we build on all your hard work + learning from the first ten sessions to take it to the next level and target specific goals. Let’s do this! Contact me to get started.

Parenting Potions

Essential Oils. Check out my class next Friday, Jan 16, on Parenting Potions at Oil & Cotton. Essential oils are a fun, easy way to bring nature into regular life to promote mental, emotional + physical health. You can schedule a complementary aromatherapy session to learn more.

Vintage Nepalese Singing Bowl (Fairly Traded) which was part of the Guiness Book of World Records Attempt for the Largest Number of Singing Bowls in Austin, Texas in honor of the Dalai Lama's birthday in 2013. MeditationI bundled several of my most popular free guided meditations onto one page for easy use! You can also read more about one on one meditation support. Need a meditation instructor for your business or group? Contact me

 

Labyrinth_Ghost Ranch

*New* Locations… Expect more soon on an upcoming workshop I’m offering in August on Embodied Leadership at Ghost Ranch (Georgia O’Keeffe’s historic painting grounds + ranch) in New Mexico. I’m also dreaming of one on one + small group retreats at their lovely Casa del Sol. Email me to talk details + put something restorative on your calendar!

Pretty Face*New* Writing/Blogging Support. This has come up organically, via requests from you! When I started I was super uncomfortable with all things techy, fancying myself better equipped to live in a cave like the desert mothers + fathers. So if I can create an online presence, trust me you can too! Writing can be tender. I’m here to help you find your own authentic voice: that can mean that you talk to me and I write up a draft, or that we talk through your material + I’m here as a resource or to edit. I can also help you take a big writing project and “chunk it” to create an editorial calendar. Trust me, this whole blogging/writing thing feels so much better with support. Contact me to create a custom package for your writing needs.

Paper Bird made from a women's coop in the Philippines
Paper Bird made from a women’s coop in the Philippines

Thank You for being a part of my online + real time world. I am so grateful for you and wish you love + all the good in 2015.

xo

Courtney