Category Archives: nature

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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You are Invited to Flourish A Retreat for Women in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico this May

Have you ever peeked inside some fabulous gate or stone hallway to an interior courtyard and wondered what is going on in there?

Thought – “I wish I could go inside” or “What if I lived there?”

This is your opportunity to come into such a space.

Literally to put yourself in San Miguel de Allende, a town replete with hidden courtyards and lime trees blooming year round and fountains and bougainvillea blossoms raining down from every side.

To gather with other women in such a home enjoying a consciously curated experience where alone time is balanced with meaningful conversations and lively small group coaching sessions, where you have time to sit by (or in) a heated pool and journal, to listen to yourself and to be deeply heard, practice yoga (or not), enjoy the daily siesta with an actual nap (because we hear ourselves better when well rested) or by exploring the city on a solo adventure or with new friends — drinking up its ancient beauty and marketplaces.

Your experience will also include meal offerings of delicious, fresh local food sourced from a nearby organic farm, (breakfast, lunch and a snack, because you need good nourishment) and teaching sessions on incisive tools for self-awareness including the Enneagram, meditation and dream analysis. Evenings are free to explore, to rest, to enjoy San Miguel dining, to share, to listen, to read, to write, to get a pedicure or manicure, to buy a fabulous scarf. To drink hot chocolate and crumbly Mexican pastries. To enjoy.

Because beyond all of the beauty around you also hear the invitation to step deeper inside your own interior landscape.

Like the plain stone facades of homes which belie their luscious interior, as women we also sometimes feel like we are wearing stone: one part protection from other’s judgments (or our perceptions of their critique) another part a slow thickening of the skin which comes with ignoring our own body and soul needs in little and big ways in our service of others.

There is another way…

One which doubles down on your feminine knowing. Where you can be authentic with yourself and others and design your own custom formula for the life you desire from the inside out. And (here is the surprising bit) discover that in so doing you are more of service than ever before.

I want to issue a personal invitation to my upcoming event Flourish — A Retreat for Women May 4-7 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. 

Click on the video above to learn more.

I am also hosting a Zoom call at 12 Noon CST Tuesday February 7 to answer any questions + talk further. (Call-in details below)

Space is limited for this boutique gathering: our VIP spots have already filled as have two additional retreat spots so we have space for 8 more women. If you are feeling like one of those spots is for you I encourage you to check out all the details below and register. My retreat at Ghost Ranch last year sold out, so I hope you take advantage of your Early Bird status (which saves you $200) and grab your space in this unique gathering today!

Keep reading for all the juicy details and photos (the best part) plus your link to register.

All the good,

Courtney

PS I also offer a friend’s referral bonus of $100 and a convenient payment plan which allows you to secure your spot today and space out payments. xo
I’m so excited to be sharing a new body of work for the first time at this retreat which is all about how to generate our most dynamic contributions via the (counter-intuitive) choice of creating space for stillness, renewal, and soul in everyday life. You will also be the first to receive a copy of my new book (which this content is drawn from)!

In addition to the teaching + coaching sessions, guided meditations, siesta time and other free time to lounge by the pool, yoga and delicious local food a percentage of your registration fee includes a donation to support the work of Via Organica, a local organic farm which teaches sustainable agriculture.  

The ambiance created by the sounds of chirping birds, church bells ringing, and the beautiful bougainvillea-lined street enhance this home which has been newly expanded and remodeled by a master architect.

Located just three blocks from the Jardin (the main plaza) in downtown San Miguel de Allende (SMA) Casa Suspiro del Pueblito is a gem. This beautiful home is laid out across two courtyards, in true San Miguel Colonial style. The first vibrant courtyard is centered around an old stone fountain and boasts brightly flowered vines. The second, larger courtyard, is serene with towering stone walls, a beautiful heated pool, relaxing waterfall, and fragrant flowers throughout. All of this is overlooked from the spacious indoor/outdoor room with large fireplace — the perfect place to relax and enjoy.

With sparkling blue skies, rooftop terraces, and authentic Mexican hospitality San Miguel is a UNESCO World-Heritage site. An art and cultural gem, during your exploration of its cobblestone streets you can enjoy colonial architecture, contemporary art galleries, and traditional craft markets. During your free time (or better yet stay an extra day!) visit a nearby hotsprings, a botanical garden or enjoy a massage or other treatment at a local spa. (We have recommendations, inquire for details!)

Photo credit Eileen West. www.westofwhimsy.com


Our retreat starts at 5:00PM on Thursday May 4 with an informal gathering, meditation and opportunity to meet the other participants over bites and drinks. We conclude Sunday May 7 with a special morning session and meditation ending at 10AM so you can travel or better yet stay for another day of explorations.

The retreat includes breakfast, lunch and snacks as well as my new book and a folder full of juicy resources + other treats.

Airfare is not included. The best airport to fly into usually is Leon’s Del Bajio International Airport (BJX). There is a shuttle service BajioGo from there to San Miguel (a 90 minute drive.) You can make reservations online for the shuttle for around $40.

For accommodations during the retreat you have two options:

Your Early Bird rate covers your full retreat experience with breakfast and lunch together, group coaching + teaching sessions on the Enneagram, Dream Analysis and more, lounging or swimming at the house during the day, a copy of my book, written materials and other treats plus the option of purchasing two additional coaching sessions.

This choice gives you flexibility in your accommodations. You select and book your room from one of three boutique hotels/bed and breakfasts within a matter of blocks from the home with high recommendations and a range of pricing options:

Hotel Options (These all come recommended by San Miguel natives)

Casa Carly (Most Affordable Option. Eight “Casitas” of varying sizes on property. About a ten minute walk from the retreat house.)

Casa Calderoni (Cute, Mid-Range Option. Next door to the retreat house.)

Casa Clandestino (Boutique Hotel with a more contemporary style + luxury and a range of suites available. About a twelve minute walk to the retreat house.)

Or you can always book via AirBnB, there are many fun options in the city available.

The VIP Offer includes staying in the retreat house with your own private bedroom and bath. It also includes two additional coaching sessions (one before, one after the retreat via phone) plus the option of staying an extra night on Wednesday May 3rd. This is a great option for someone wanting more relaxation time or to to create their own writing retreat. (Katie, a gifted life-coach and my assistant for this gathering and I will be in the house with you the night before but we won’t bother you other than to inquire if you need more coffee, tea or chocolate!) It is also a great value as it includes a four night stay in a luxury home plus two coaching sessions ($425 value.) Also a fun option for friends who want to stay in the house together. I only have two VIP spaces so please register as soon as possible if this is the option for you! Price is $1997. The VIP Slots are filled for this year.

Space is limited to 12 women and 4 of those spots have already filled.  My last retreat at Ghost Ranch sold out, so I encourage you to secure your spot today by clicking the “I’m in!” button below. The Early Bird Offer expires on Friday February 10 2017.

Here is what some participants at previous retreats or live teaching events have had to say:

“ALL I COULD WANT IS MORE.”

I’ve been to many trainings and I can say I have never felt so loved and cared for… All of the time and intention you put into the retreat were noticed and appreciated. All I could want is MORE.

Aimee, Marketing Coach + Speaker, www.authenticarticulations.com

“COURTNEY BRINGS EXPERTISE WHILE BEING APPROACHABLE.”

You have such a beautiful teaching presence. I find it absolutely amazing at how you manage to bring full expertise and skill, all the while being approachable and invitational and empowering. You are a true teacher. Also, I loved hearing you speaking Spanish!

Skyler McGee, Visual Artist

“ONE OF THE BEST GIFTS I HAVE EVER GIVEN MYSELF.”

Karen Cameron, Quilter + Non-Profit Leader

“TOP FIVE OF BEST PROGRAMS WE HAVE EVER DONE.”

I’m at a loss for just the right words to tell you how exactly right your message was. I have heard so many positive comments and knew we got it “right”. To me, this was in the top 5 of the best programs we have ever done. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Jerri, Generations Director at Methodist Health System

*A percentage of your registration fee goes to support a non profit local organic farm in San Miguel promoting sustainable growing practices.

Have More Questions? This Section is For You!

Join me for a Zoom call — which you can join via phone or video — on Tuesday February 7th at 1PM Eastern / 12PM Central / 11AM Mountain /10AM Pacific.

You can join from your computer, Iphone or tablet if you would like to see my face and share yours via video. Or you can just call in via the telephone, whichever you prefer! Link and number provided below:

Join from your computer here

Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll)

Or Telephone:
Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 381 121 106
International numbers available here:

Read on for some common questions answered:

Q: Where do I fly to?

A. The best airport to fly into is Leon’s Del Bajio International Airport (BJX). There are numerous direct flights to Leon from major cities in the U.S. including Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles and the airport is serviced by American Airlines, Volaris, Aeromexico, Interjet and more. If you are able to stay a little longer, like Wednesday to Monday (and if you can, you totally should!) the price is often discounted.

We will be in Mexico for Cinco de Mayo! Totally fun! But also a good reminder to go ahead and book your flight once you register since it is a holiday weekend.

Q: How do I get from the airport to the retreat house or my hotel?

A. There is a shuttle service BajioGo from the airport to San Miguel (a 90 minute drive.) You can make reservations online for the shuttle for around $40. You do not have to speak Spanish. They hold up a sign for you and the airport is quite small. They will then take you directly to either our retreat house or your boutique hotel. (The retreat begins at 5pm Thursday May 4 with bites and drinks + our opening session.) When you reserve the shuttle you put in your destination address and they deliver you to your door!

Depending what day/time you arrive there will likely be other women attending the retreat on your shuttle as well as other interesting folks. San Miguel attracts a fun and diverse crowd in my experience. I’ve met other coaches, artists and more on the shuttle.

Q: Are VIP Slots still available?

A. The VIP slots are filled.

Q: Do I book my hotel myself?

A. Yes. Your Early Bird rate covers your full retreat experience with breakfast and lunch together, group coaching + teaching sessions on the Enneagram, Dream Analysis and more, lounging or swimming at the house during the day, a copy of my book, written materials and other treats plus one bonus coaching session via phone either before or after our gathering.

This option gives you flexibility in your accommodation choice. Also I don’t normally offer one coaching session at a time (clients usually invest in six or ten session bundles) so this is a great way to get a taste of coaching and to reinforce and integrate the lessons from the retreat once you are back at home. Early Bird price is $997 (a discount of $200 from the regular registration rate.) There is also a payment plan of four monthly payments of $250.

Hotel Options (These all come recommended by San Miguel natives)

Casa Carly (Most Affordable Option. Eight “Casitas” of varying sizes on property. About a ten minute walk from the retreat house.)

Casa Calderoni (Cute, Mid-Range Option. Next door to the retreat house.)

Casa Clandestino (Boutique Hotel with a more contemporary style and a range of suites available. About a twelve minute walk to the retreat house.)

Or you can always book via AirBnB, there are many fun options in the city available.

Q. What is the plan for the food?

A. The plan for the food is delicious, local and organic from Via Organica, a local cafe connected to a local nonprofit organic farm that supports sustainable agriculture. (A percentage of your registration fee also goes in a donation to support their work.) I’m very into good food and attending to folks with diet preferences, so there will be gluten free, vegetarian and other options. Just let me know what you need! (I’ll send a brief survey after registration to get more details.)

Q. I am coming by myself. Will there be groups of people getting together for dinner and other outings? 

A. Absolutely! Most participants come by themselves and many make lasting friendships. There is a friend duo coming this year who met last year at Ghost Ranch and have stayed in touch throughout the year and decided to register together for this year’s event. It is a great space to meet other women. Katie (who is on my team for this event and also a life coach) is what I call a “hospitality goddess.” So she is extra good at making sure everyone knows about outing options and has a buddy or group to join if they are looking for companionship. You can also feel totally comfortable enjoying some alone time. Often women go back to their room and nap, especially on the first day it is just what their body needs!

Q: Can I bring a friend?

A. Yes! In fact I have a friend referral bonus so if you do bring a friend let me know and I’ll send you $100 as a thank you for introducing her to our retreat.

Q: Does this offer expire?

A. Yes the insider offer has been extended and expires Friday February 3 when I open registration to my full list. This offer went out only to my “insiders” those who have been to a live event before, coaching clients, those who joined one of my eCourses or classes and others who reached out to me about this event. I am offering it to you so that you have the first opportunity to join (my last retreat at Ghost Ranch did sell out) and with some extras including the bonus coaching session for the Early Bird offer, which I won’t be offering after tonight.

Q. Can you swim in the pool?

A. Absolutely! I hope you do. It is heated.

Q. What kind of things should I bring?

A. Bring a journal and a good pen, a camera, a dream journal if you have one dedicated to that purpose (or want to pick one up.) If you are an artist you may want to bring art supplies as well. The light in San Miguel is magic! I’ll be providing you with a folder with lots of juicy materials and the copy of my book either in electronic or print form so you will have lots to reflect on. But I always think it is best to integrate written material into your real life (not the “training folder” on your shelf that you never pick up again.) So if you have a journal or notebook you keep your life notes or inspiration in I’d certainly encourage you to bring that.

Also bring those TLC items which make you feel really well-cared for when you travel. For me this is a mini diffuser and some favorite essential oils, my Neti pot (too much information?!) and some favorite tea. I’ll be providing you with great coffee and tea and meals and snacks but if you have any specific other things, a favorite scarf which makes you feel cozy, you get the idea, definitely bring those.

I’ll be sending out more details about what to pack and wear to participants as well. San Miguel is in the mountains so layers are good.

Q. I am an artist and I want to bring paints. Should I pack those or can I pick them up in San Miguel?

A. San Miguel is an art town! I would definitely encourage you to bring whatever supplies you would enjoy. I would check with your particular airlines around any restrictions on paints or anything flammable. There is an art supply store in San Miguel as well if you need to pick anything up.

El Pato
http://www.directoriosanmiguel.com/ad/13/artist-materials-and-tools/el-pato

Q. I’m totally into it but not sure I am not sure I have the time or can afford it…

A. First of all I totally trust your sense of right timing and if this is the right investment for you. That said, here are a couple of strategies for making it more affordable:

Opt for the Early Bird payment plan. This lets you space out the payments over four months at $250/month.
One of the 3 hotel options is cute and more affordable. It includes little “casitas” on the property which start at $85/night. http://www.casacarlysanmiguel.com and Lastly bring a friend! I’m offering a friend referral bonus of $100 so that would bring your price down to $897 for the event and meals.(Which again you could space out.) You would still have dinners on your own but a whole range of options there, including some which are super cheap and yummy. Plus you can share a room!

Also I want to mention that it is definitely a mindset shift sometimes to invest in ourselves to this degree. My coaching journey began with someone paying for me to go on a retreat or I’m sure I wouldn’t have even gotten started.

Since then I have invested in many coaches at many price points. It is always a totally personal decision but I find that with this kind of inner reflection it is so wonderful when we as women are able to invest in an experience like San Miguel because we show up really fully for ourselves inside of it. So then the learning and “ahas” are all the more powerful.

Q. I am interested in visiting the hot springs. Where can I get more information about that:

yes and yes and yes!! Definitely recommend it.

La Gruta Open Wed -Sun 7AM -5PM.

Watch this fun video.

and Escondido Place Closed Tuesdays. 8AM-5:30PM

So there you go! All you wanted to know and more.
Please email cp@courtneypinkerton.com with any additional questions. My intention is to for you feel totally resourced and informed and fully invited to join us in Mexico! Ready to Go? Secure your spot and register here.

xxo Courtney

Photo Credits from Eileen West of westofwhimsy.com, www.homeaway.com, and Richard Amory.

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 (a personality map), meditation, and mindbody practices to reduce stress 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.

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My Big “Aha” over the Summer Plus a Taste of My Two New Fall Coaching Offers

ncwaterfall
Something happened to me recently which has never happened before. Read on for all the details (this post was written a few weeks ago as our family vacation in the Carolinas — pictured above — morphed into long summer days at home.) It turns out that rest can be quite generative! And so you will also find at the end of this email a taste of the two new coaching offers I’m opening this fall. Look for details next week on all those fun seasonal coaching bonuses when my fall coaching calendar opens for new clients. September is the new January– I’m excited to step back into the fullness of this coming year and to share it all with you.

All the good,

Courtney

spicebushteabird

I spent so many years suppressing my urge to rest, I came to mistrust it.

Long after I have built a life and a business centered around intuition, meditation, and self-care I am unearthing another layer of self-deceit:

I think I have to drive the show (in my life + biz) or nothing much gets done. 

But lately all I feel like doing is floating through my days with my children enjoying the home we have created. Playing with the toys which require thick imagination, reading the Big books, picking back up with unwatched Downton Abbey episodes, listening to the toll of the church bells down the street and reclining at the neighbor’s house with the pool.

And more delights … Harry Potter (three of us reading this series for the first time in one house!), travel memoirs, Spicebush herbal tea (pictured above) made from ingredients I harvested on an edible landscape tour, white wine spritzer when the kids have gone to sleep. And the butterflies which show up, sometimes in glorious pairs outside my kitchen window, bright orange — flitting between my son’s mandarin tree and the zinnias i potted this spring with their bursts of red and yellow.

But can I trust myself to go over this edge? To float on these waves of doing as little as I can manage? Lazily dipping my hand in my biz, wondering what it needs to keep rowing forward and doing only that, one stroke a day. Sometimes one a week.

And my home– one extra household task a day to keep the tidy equilibrium is all I can muster on top of daily dishes and meals. Putting away two loads of laundry an accomplishment.

But will I ever return from the land of hazy rest? Or will I forever drift down this river and when I emerge be disoriented, wondering what happened to my life and my work?

Here is the strange thing: during this month of doing nothing and a social media fast I received: three new coaching clients, an invitation to teach a weekend long retreat in the spring, and a request to help design a wellness theme for parents and teachers at an area school. I’ve also been able to capture a handful of writing snippets as they emerge (you are reading one right now!) And I am enjoying appointments with existing coaching clients — showing up grateful for the quiet and the chance to be with just one person and to listen deeply, a respite from the multi-tasking which is my mama life.

In short something is moving, but it has such a different quality than my own ego-hewn sense of how work should feel.

It feels light. Driven by a fuel far distinct from my narrow-focused sense of the work equation: time at my computer screen = time of accomplishment.

As I sat yesterday and listened to my friend talk about her recent visit to a shaman (how do I find a shaman?!) I felt the world quivering at my feet: the grass moving and bending, the leaves dancing, the vibration of life surrounding me, this green nation converting sunlight to their own sustenance.

What if work could feel like that? As intuitive? As self-nourishing?

What if our love-affair with discerning our own work and offering it to the world was as simple as using the processes at our own interior disposal, chlorophyll and like, to create food. Food for ourselves yes. But leaves inevitably are food for other animals and fall, nourishing the earth.

I am coming to trust the river of rest and to know that there is an end to how long I will even want to float here. At some point it feels good to get out of the water when your fingers are all wrinkly to enjoy the rub of a towel warmed on the beach. And the hunger in your belly invites you to work again, to start the fire.

For this is what i am coming to learn: my yearning for Downton Abbey will fade, depositing me grateful and open-hearted in the real life web of human and nonhuman relationships where I make my home. My impulse to lay and read another travel memoir will transition to dreaming and research about an upcoming trip to the mountains of Mexico to celebrate a big birthday. I will eventually want to wash my hair and to cook a hot meal of fresh beet greens and basil and an omelette of goat cheese from the farmer’s market, all a drizzle with the Palestinian olive oil we got as a gift. And to reconnect to writing, coaching, and lovely you.

In short, rest deposits me back into my life. More awake to its subtleties. More grateful. I won’t get lost there, i can trust it.

And so can you.

Now many of my coaching clients are tired. Sometimes an early bed time or a nap is the next best step toward discerning the life that wants to live out of you. Other times that fatigue actually indicates that more activity is needed both in terms of moving your body in whatever way you find fun and risking sharing your talents with others.

I’m curious: what one step could you take this week to bring your rest/creativity relationship closer to equilibrium? Do you need more sleep to enjoy your days? Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier tonight and see how you feel. Or do you need to find some support to take concrete steps which bring your dreams + desires into the material world? Read on, I got you!

Wherever you are in the cycle of rest or sharing your creative gifts, if you could use some support finding your equilibrium I hope you will take stay tuned for my new coaching options:

One is an autumn-licious version of my signature coaching program (meaning in addition to the one on one coaching sessions, custom guided meditation recordings and other goodies you get some season-specific treats. (Think wildcraft herb-infused Fire Cider drink and a luscious bonus dream-analysis coaching session. For starters.) And the other is a new group coaching option launching in October, called the Soulpreneur Mastermind. What is a mastermind? It is like a combo between an eCourse (with audio lessons + written guides you download and enjoy at a time convenient for you) plus group support.

I’ll have all the details on those fall coaching bonuses next week + more on the Soulpreneur Mastermind shortly thereafter. But for today just a taste. Because when I came out of the water, it turns out I had so very much I wanted to share with you.

xo

Courtney

*This post is an excerpt from some new writing I’m working on for an upcoming book called Flourish: an OverAchiever Recovery Guide. You can look for more about this book + accompanying coaching program in 2017.

Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a certified 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 Favorite Pic of the Summer + What to Expect this Fall

blackberry

Birder* I have so much to share with you I almost overheated in my effort to stuff it all into this email. I felt like my kids who simultaneously present me when walking through the door with handheld nature treasures, homemade art or the stories of the day — all too precious to wait. They are bursting with the newness and goodness of it all and just have to share, right now. I feel that way about some writing I crafted over the summer as well as fresh content and many more details about my Soulpreneur Mastermind (think eCourse + group phone coaching program) which starts in October and fun, autumnlicious (yes I made that word up) goodies for coaching clients this fall.

But then i remembered the how is as important as the what.

That how I feel while working is as important as the content I create.

And so on this first week back in the saddle after a leisurely end to the summer (and in the middle of a kitchen remodel)

I just want to share a favorite moment from my summer, the pic above from an edible landscape tour outside of Asheville, North Carolina. My love of medicinal herbs and growing things in the garden is taking a wild turn and leading me into the forest. It was truly one of the more sacred encounters of my whole summer. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about it and other ways we can hold hands with nature in upcoming posts.

Be on the lookout for all that fresh content and special offerings in the coming weeks. For now I just want to say thank you for being a part of my summer.

All the good,

Courtney
PS I share more pics + fav resources over on Facebook and would love to connect with you there! xo

*Why do you have a nickname? Well as any creative will tell you the people who enjoy, read, or share your art are dear indeed. And I know I’m biased but the readers of this blog are some of the most interesting, soulful women (and a few good men!) I have had the privilege of encountering in person or through the interwebs. A powerful tribe. I call you Birder because like me I think you are out there listening. The voice of the soul is like a wild animal. And rather than stomping through the forest of our lives and scaring away everything timid and beautiful we pause. We step slowly. We listen for the birdsong.

its-a-wrap

Here are some examples of what participants in the Summer of Meditation Challenge have shared so far. I love reading each one of your reflections — please add your thoughts today!

“OMG!!! I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful the impact has been on me. I decided to take on the Challenge in the most hectic month of the year for our family. I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and almost in a victim state feeling burdened with too much responsibility for my three girls while my husband had to work extra hours. When I read about your Challenge I decided it was the perfect intervention. I needed something. Through the consistency of meditation my days became so much more manageable. My energy increased (and I wasn’t getting more sleep or doing less) and I was way more grounded with my children, husband and my self. I even had to stop drinking coffee as my constant tiredness seemed to lift and the coffee was too much for me and I LOVE coffee but I just didn’t feel like I “needed” it.” Christina, busy mom, Bowen Island, BC, Canada

“Every time I did the suggested meditation, I was transported from a busy mind/body to a more still, comfortable place. It was a ten minute reminder of self compassion.” Lisa Baer Frederick, Art Activist, Rockport, Texas

“I successfully did two of the meditations – walking & pernicious thoughts. On the days I did those I felt both relaxed & energized. I liked your suggestion that the meditations can be done in small chunks during the day. I am very grateful for you and your passion for transformation!” Karen, quilter, life long seeker, Oak Cliff, Texas.

I would seriously love to hear from you. Plus you would be gifting future participants by letting me know how I could make the Challenge better.

You don’t need to have done all 8 weeks perfectly to complete the survey. That is in fact all part of the feedback:) Share with me which videos piqued your interest and why. Which audio meditations you tried. What you liked. How it could be made better. Even if you only tried one meditation one time, I want to hear from you. Here is the link to the survey.

Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 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 popular blog on soulful living. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and MindBody practices as well as supporting other “soulpreneurs,” aka women who want to lead with heart in their work + lives. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

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

Myth #4: It is Highly Personal

Shine_Series

Repeat after me: it is all just data.

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

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

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

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

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

Yet, here is the truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tara Mohr calls this unhooking from praise and criticism.

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

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

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

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

Now over to you:

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

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

Warmly, Courtney

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

Spring Clean

Photo Oct 01, 12 56 17 PM

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

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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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Myth # 3: Reaching Big Goals Requires You to Work your *ss off

Myth #3 Shine Series

We can get so narrow and constricted in what we think work needs to look like that we forget to listen. And be playful. And to let life feed us.

I know this habit from personal experience. I can get so focused on what I am designing and working on (however I narrowly define that) that I miss the other ways I might go about it.

Just take this week for example. Those of you who read last week’s post about everyday beauty know all about my gas leak and sick house. Then this week my youngest started coughing up a storm and the preschool called us come get her.

I looked at my schedule and once again was not seeing a home for deep writing.

But then I tapped on it. I tapped to release my little fingers of control and asked to be filled instead with that palm-open energy. What do I have to share? What feels fun and light?

A new idea emerges… a tapping audio to help you navigate the anxiety of stretching for a goal! You can access this free guided meditation audio below or download the Tapping on the Stretch audio file. *

(It works best if you repeat after me out loud. This audio assumes you know the acupressure points. Before you begin identify how strong the anxiety or fear is on a scale of 0 to 10. If you need to learn the tapping points check out my how to tap video here. )

Another thing I can do when I am drinking the “big goals require you to work your ass off ” Kool-Aid is to be so focused on work that I ignore/neglect things which are growing organically. If something feels fun and easy, that can’t be related to my big goals, can it?

This is dualistic thinking.

Work on this side. Play on another. Work takes effort. Usually me pounding away on the computer. Play by contrast is easy.

And keeping this dualistic approach prohibits us from setting and reaching big goals which require a combination of both approaches. And also, and this is key, knowing when to employ each.

There are times to hustle and to focus on follow through. To finish what you start. I like to break these projects into “turtle steps” and create a reward. I use the timer on my phone and after about 90 minutes, sometimes even less, I give myself a break. My favorite treats are a midday yoga break, time outside in my yard, and warm meals. Also pause to enjoy how you feel when you get it done. Satisfied. Spacious. Notice that before you plow into another task.

And make sure to create space in your weekly rhythm for play. If nothing else my Sundays are full of rest and play and they make such a big difference in how I feel going into the next week. I’m also starting to squeeze in an outing just for me on Saturday mornings. Last week I ran around a cemetery full of spring blossoms. Maybe not everyone’s definition of play but it delighted my senses (and was blissfully quiet.) My children are also fans of impromptu dance parties several evenings a week. Currently Michael Jackson is their favorite. Creating tiny bouquets and tending to my garden also feels like play for me. And travel. As anyone who has a creative pastime will tell you (writing, painting whatever it is) you come back from vacation filled up in a way that makes you more generative.

So I am learning to take play breaks even during times when I’m pushing toward a big goal (like recently while marketing and inviting people to my retreat at Ghost Ranch.) Even if I don’t feel like it. Or don’t feel like I can afford to stop. That is my clue that I totally do need to stop, even just for a bit!

It is also possible for your work to feel like play. Now this is the holy grail.

I came home so happy last night after hosting an Enneagram workshop. I don’t think I can even write about it yet, it was so beautiful and fun. Helping eager, inquisitive soulful people find their way into this wisdom tool. Well, there is nothing better.

In this category of work that feels like play I would also put a soulpreneur meetup group I started at a neighborhood coffee shop for entrepreneurs who want to lead with the heart. Truthfully I started it because I wanted and needed such a space of support and it has become a lively gathering due mostly to the first handful of participants inviting interesting people. In addition to camaraderie we have found new referral partners and people to go to for ideas related to a whole host of fields. For example I have been learning from a health coach in the group about detoxing and other nutrition tips and using those insights to design some bonus elements for my upcoming spring cleaning coaching package.

I hope this post helps you bust one more myth in the service of setting your juicy goal—whether it is a creative project, a work opportunity, or a remake of your home space. Not in a compulsive “I have to do this so I have some self-worth” kind of way. Because that outside-in fix never works.

But in a “Hells yes I have this desire within me and I want to honor who I am and the goal which is called out of me!” sort of way.

And as you do I hope you will tap away the anxiety of the stretch whenever you feel those graspy fingers of control. And know that you can trust yourself to do the work and to flex and engage play. And to know which you need to take the one next step in front of you toward that juicy goal.

Xo

Courtney

PS Registrations are coming in for my MindBodySpirit course for women at Ghost Ranch and it is so much fun to see the group taking shape! We have ladies joining us from the West Coast, Midwest, Southwest and Texas too and a variety of fields, ages and passions as change-makers. If you have been noodling on whether or not to come I hope you jump on in! You may be the perfect missing ingredient to this beautiful gathering. And if you need one more incentive I’ve expanded my bonus book offer–follow the link for details and register today! xo

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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.

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

  

Shine_Series

This month 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

*This audio was adapted from a meditation offered by Jessica Ortner of the Tapping Solution as part of the Tapping World Summit which concluded this week.

Myth #2: When You are in the Flow… Nothing Ever Goes Wrong.

 

When You are in the Flow

Let us be honest. In this series about reaching for juicy goals I am not dishing out advice akin to the cheesy self-esteem posters which tell you to shoot for the moon because if you miss at least you will land among the stars.

Because you won’t. At least not always.

Sometimes in fact you will go kersplat and it will hurt. Or jar you at the very least. (Remember our story of jumping mouse landing in the mud?)

Yet kersplat can be a vital part of juicy goal setting and achieving. In fact if we live to avoid the hard landing we keep our goals tame, and the world is poorer for it.

Below I offer a recent example of landing in the mud from my own life. I hope it helps you to be kind to yourself the next time you find yourself there and thus ever more nimble and willing to jump full out when the time is right.

Xo

Courtney

frog_mud

Together my friend Lynn and I have six children. Whenever she visits I usually feel like I’m living into the best version of my commune fantasies. (I’ve been around enough communities to know that living together with your friends/fellow spiritual journeyers can go horribly wrong. But with certain dear friends, for short amounts of time, I can revel in a full house.)

Before she came I had gotten in touch with a book coach and scheduled a free consultation.

I kept waiting for the confirmation email with details— which never showed up in my inbox but I was too distracted with hosting and long, lovely conversations to try to figure out what had gone wrong.

Then the morning of the free coaching session arrives. My friend is packing up to leave that same day and the plan is that I hole up in my home office for this one hour while she loads the car and keeps an eye on the kids. (Did I mention how many we have and how very loud they can all be together?)

So just a few minutes before the time for the scheduled call I realize 1) I had missed the earlier confirmation email in spam and 2) I don’t know how to use the phone/web service to connect with the coach who is based in the UK.

To make matters worse I see her tweeting me @birdinhandcoach and giving me further instructions. In that moment with kids pounding at the door I couldn’t even figure out how to tweet back. (Judge me if you must, Twitter is not my love language. ) Aargh. I felt so lonely, like an astronaut who couldn’t connect with home base.

I missed the interview and even though I emailed her to apologize of course I felt bad for wasting her time.

As I left the office I had this urge to run away. Sitting with my friend in our final moments together I had an excruciating sense I was missing something else important. Yet ignoring my guest right before she left town felt wrong too.

It was all wrong.

Later that day I called my husband– grumbling about emails caught in the spam folder and naming the feeling of having “reached a couple of levels up the ladder” to this book coach and then come across as less than professional. Ouch.

Later after an SOS text message to my coaching posse I got a coaching session from one of my Martha Beck colleagues.

My coach friend asked if there was a metaphor for how I felt about the situation and I said I have a sense of tripping and landing, kersplat.

And my insightful coach said: “I have a hunch that you feel that you shouldn’t have played. That you think you shouldn’t have taken the whole week off to be with your friend and that your inner overachiever wouldn’t have let this happen. And a second hunch that you think ‘to go with the flow’ of your life means that things won’t ever go wrong.”

Shazam! A few hot tears later I realized, what a wakeup call!

I came to recognize that my overachiever impulses had migrated. I was on to them in regular life but now there they were perched around this book project, one of my juiciest new goals, like a row of vultures.

Hi friends.

She then asked me how I would feel if this book coach came back and said oh it is no big deal and suggested an alternate time. Hugely relieved I said. And that is where I saw it. The habit of looking to others for my validation.

With that dose of clarity I realized that it couldn’t be possible that my book depends on one person. And that if I was looking for a healthy working relationship it would be most helpful if I got to be a human in it. And could ask for and give grace.

Once I saw the bigger truth of the situation I tasted some relief. And with my hand on my heart, offering kindness to that part of me that just wanted to be told it was ok, I decided I would check my email one more time and then unplug for rest of the day/holiday. In that exact moment, 1:56pm (well one minute before) I got a kind email back from the book coach offering another time.

The next week I got that free consultation and some extra feedback to boot. When I followed up to reschedule I shared a favorite blog post, something I hadn’t thought to do before, which ended up seeding our conversation and sparking some fun emails back and forth with her reactions.  Also knowing how disappointed I had been when I missed the call I spent more time preparing, taking advantage of the extra week to gather my thoughts and questions.

But before I did all that back when I first got her email, I took a warm bath, feeling waves of relaxation where the tension had been held.

Now this is a minor kersplat to be sure. And as I revisit my earlier notes on it I find myself wondering, why did I take this situation so seriously?

But we don’t get to choose the moments we struggle with.

And if you have ever tripped over the same thing again and again (something to do with our Ennea type) or endured a mystery anxiety spiral, meaning you aren’t quite sure why you care so much but you just do, well then you know what I’m talking about.

So that my birders, is Myth #2 (when you are in the flow nothing will go wrong) busted.

But here is the good news:

If we can find freedom in the little moments of failure (remember it is the internal obstacles which are the most powerful) we create more space to let ourselves risk reaching for the juicy goals.

And we also find a well of compassion for others, in their respective mud baths, which makes the world a much friendlier and easier place to call home.

And now, over to you. I would love to hear about a time you fell down, especially if you got back up! Please leave a comment below– what you share may be just what someone else needs to hear.

Love and all the good,

Courtney

PS I just purchased my airfare and car rental for the retreat I’m teaching in New Mexico this April. I can’t wait to commune with gorgeous mountains and the lovely women who are coming to learn my 3 favorite MindBody practices for de stressing (bonus they are all things you can do for yourself!) Ghost Ranch is surprisingly affordable as a retreat center so if you are at all curious (and in need of a long weekend breather) you can check out the details here. Join me and other change-makers for this intimate gathering and register today! xo

Enneagram Workshop

For those of you in the Dallas area I’m teaching a special workshop at Sync Yoga on connecting your head, heart and body centers using the Enneagram. It is Thursday, March 3 from 7-9PM in Sync Yoga’s gorgeous new studios in the Sylvan 30 complex. Price $35 in advance $45 at the door. Details + Register Here. Plus if you are looking to learn to meditate or deepen your practice join me Monday nights at 6:45PM at Sync and if you come to 4 of the meditation classes offered by the studio this month (we are keeping track by adding a heart sticker for each class to your Valentine strung up by the front desk) you can bring a friend for free to the Enneagram workshop!  I would love to see you there! Xo Courtney

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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Shine_Series

This month 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 Does Not Mean Stay Small