Category Archives: Spiritual Practice

Mexico Photo Reveal + More


Sometimes things are too hot to share right away, do you know what I mean? Not just hot as in steamy but hot as in alive, penetrating, unfiltered. In our social media compare and despair lifestyle we sometimes don’t even get a chance to absorb a new experience before we feel compelled to pivot and share it.

There are moments where that is super fun (my son just joined Instagram yesterday, watch out!) and other times where it can rob us the full immersion in the now.

While I couldn’t stop sharing vignettes of my Mexican adventures on Instagram and Facebook the day before the retreat I found that tapered off as I entered into the teaching zone. It reminds me of the feeling I had when I used to attend births as a doula: it turns out time is quite bendy and flexible and it is possible to drop into another experience of time when you feel something precious unfolding. The phone just naturally falls out of your hand.

But once home and having caught my breath, what a pleasure to share some of these photos of the vibe and the gorgeous participants with you.

Yes we had surprise salsa dancing lessons.

And sprinkling of rose petals in the fountain (a custom in San Miguel de Allende.) We did it to mark our intentions for the gathering.
And delicious meals and conversations.

And treats.

And some of the most brave, lovely and inspiring women I could imagine.

Here is one account of the experience from Katie:

“As I am soaking in what I learned in your book and program and tweaking my daily life and imagining my Flourish calendar and seeing myself in my Enneagram type and the neglected side of it and having epiphanies….it’s all because YOU WROTE THIS BOOK!

This program is awesome, life-giving, life-changing. And the strange part of that is, in a weird way, it doesn’t seem new or novel or beginner in anyway – it feels ancient. I almost could have bypassed telling you how fantastic and inspiring and exploding this book and program is because in a sense it seems like it’s been here in the world and it’s a resource that one can build on AS A BASE for a really fulfilling life and THAT is what is so amazing – the flow and the guidance and the language and the care – it is solid like a big sequoia tree. It’s just so integrated and complete that it’s hard to believe you just did this! I don’t know if my words are saying how truly impressed I am by the love and care in which you share your gifts with all of us, and how talented you are at what you do.”

Like Katie I was also surprised by how much the content affected me. Again and again I am reminded that with this kind of work I can never dial it in. I have to live what I teach, and each time at a new level. I am inspired by the shifts in client’s lives and feel myself invited into fuller expression. And these tools in the FLOURISH Formula are so incisive they leave you no where to hide, even from yourself.

While that can sound kind of scary it actually frees up enormous amounts of energy to focus on the things which are most dear and life-giving for you. Sometimes the shifts are subtle but important and other times big changes come out of this process: the decision to change careers or relocate or have another baby. (All real examples I have witnessed with clients.)

I have some big lifestyle changes brewing with my family which I can’t wait to share more about. So stay tuned for those details in the coming weeks. The process of writing the book and teaching this content stirred things up for me in ways I honestly wasn’t expecting. But here we go — you can never go backwards, only forward into your next change cycle.

So if these photos are making you think you would like someone to take care of you for a change, and to enjoy a consciously-curated experience which supports you in gaining clarity and growing resiliency: I am opening up another beta group for my 8 Step FLOURISH coaching program. And this one includes the bonus of an adventure chic retreat in Nicaragua in October! I’d love to hear what is stirring in your life and share all the details. Schedule your Complimentary Discovery Session today!

All the good,

Courtney

PS Holy cow thank you for the feedback for my author photo. I was so touched by the thoughtful responses and encouragement. Wow what a boost before I share this book baby with the world! The results are still coming in but it looks like the popular vote is between the red pillow and the white couch (both pictured below), with many others voting for the kumquat tree and the blue wall. What to do? I plan to digest this feedback and my next step is to work with a book cover designer who may have insights as well. But no matter what I’ll be using all these photos on my website and in social media so thank you again for your feedback, it was so fun! And to Eileen West for her incredible photography skillz, both for my author photos and for the lovely pictures of the retreat featured above. xxo 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 creator of the 8 step FLOURISH Formula Coaching program 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 busy women who want to unlock their greatest gifts and thrive 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. Interested to learn more? You can schedule your complimentary discovery session here.

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Help Me Select My Author Photo?

Something is happening to me lately. As you know, part of me desires to live in a cave and have only five garments of clothing and grow and eat my own greens and write away my life in blissful monastic solitude. And yet… that is not the life I have chosen.

I am a woman. And a mom. And an entrepreneur. And I have come to recognize that much of what we deem as “spiritual” or the “soulful” path is about the process that men need to go through to wake up. (Don’t get my feminist hackles raised about our “male as normative” culture and how we assume a man’s process is everyone’s process…)

So this whole idea of retreating from the world and wearing monotone robes — it is helpful to tenderize the ego for many men who have been encouraged/pressured to take their place at the top and make their mark from a young age. It lets the soul catch up.

But what I have observed in my own life and with the women I work with is that often we need a different path. Rather than taking ourselves down several notches we need in fact to inhale and take up our rightful space in the world. And taking up our space involvings first and foremost re-inhabiting our bodies. Which happen to be women’s bodies — bodies with breasts and bodies which have the capacity to birth life and are often a little softer around the edges. And this soulful process invites us to tend to our bodies as an act of exquisite self-care, not to cultivate the sparkle from the outside in or so we look good for others… but to share and shine from the inside out.

So I’ve been playing with these themes in my own life as I thought through what I desired for the author photo for my forthcoming book. I wanted something feminine and even a touch playful. My photographer asked me how I wanted people to feel when they saw this picture. And my answer is “invited.”

So many women I work with feel like they are pushing, striving, straining every day to support their life and the people in it. What if it could be the other way around?

What if we were invited to peel those fingers of control off our life and instead to receive so fully we couldn’t help spilling over into the lives around us?

Explaining and exploring how to do that is the heart of the eight step FLOURISH process in the book and my new signature coaching program.

So here you go — I’ve narrowed it down to four pics: #1 Kumquat tree, #2 Red Pillow, #3 Blue Wall, and #4 White Couch. I would so love to hear which one you could imagine on the back of a book and which one makes you feel most invited. I hope you will share your thoughts in a comment below. I’ll read every one!

xxo

Courtney

PS I am opening up another beta group for my 8 Step FLOURISH coaching program (Guess what?! this one includes the bonus of an adventure chic retreat in Central America in October of 2017!) If you are interested to learn more schedule your Complimentary Discovery Session here.

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 creator of the 8 step FLOURISH Formula Coaching program 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 busy women who want to unlock their greatest gifts and thrive 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. Would you like to learn more about coaching options? Schedule a complementary discovery session with Courtney here.

Want to get the latest from Courtney? Sign up below for tips on soulful living + updates I only share with my list!

You Make it Look So Easy: The Compare & Despair Economy

Hello from Mexico! I am en route to San Miguel de Allende for my FLOURISH retreat for women. If we aren’t already I hope you will connect on Instagram and Facebook to catch the behind the scenes beauty. (I’ve even got a photo shoot planned. I need a proper head shot for my book cover plus San Miguel begs to be photographed!)

Today’s blog post is about a tender subject for many women: the economy of comparing and despairing. I wrote this post after a recent vacation in the Carolinas and it has been “in the vault” waiting for a special day to reveal. Today is that day! As always I’d love to hear what it stirs for you. Leave a comment below about your own habit of saying “You make it look so easy” or your (surprisingly freeing) list of things that do not come easy! Read on for details on my yoga crashes and more. xxo Courtney

 

Recently I hiked down a trail in one of the largest temperate forests in rural North Carolina. At the peak of this trail we were awarded a view so expansive my 9 year old son remarked: “I don’t know why everyone talks about nature being destroyed. From here it totally overwhelms the towns which are tiny!” It was true, the lush green treetops carpeted the landscape, blissfully dwarfing the human-made structures. (Maybe there is hope for our sweet planet, yet?) My eyes and soul felt like they could relax.

On the way down I passed a retirement-age couple. While this trail was marked as “moderate” they wore serious hiking shoes and walking sticks and seemed to be wrestling with the path. As I came up behind the husband of the duo struggled through a particularly craggy section of rock, calling it an “ankle buster.” He suggested that they let me go on and I passed and continued down the trail. The woman called after me, part frustration and part admiration: “You make it look so easy!”

I paused. Wishing I had a better response I smiled tightly, thinking of my husband who worked for years as a caterer and learned the perfect response when people complimented his food: “I’m glad you like it.”

I was wanting a similar phrase: a way to acknowledge the compliment but turn it around and say, “Hey — look at what you are doing. I hope I’m out in retirement moving my body and taking on challenges. Enjoy yourself!”

This phrase “You make it look so easy” rattled around in my head for the next few days. And as I reflected on it I unearthed the trap of this complement: how often we look at people and evaluate them (and ourselves) only on those things which seem to be coming easily.

Maybe I am nimble on my feet on a hiking trail. But I definitely haven’t always been. My mother had to sign me up for dance lessons as a child because she said I was like a “little elephant” stomping around the house.

And I distinctly remember the moment in Peace Corps training when one of my fellow volunteers inspired me to really loosen my stance and showed me how to jog down steep trails, a practice I had never before tried. Two years on a volcano gave me ample time to learn and whenever I’m on a hill I feel this old muscle memory kick into place.

Even so I’m far from an elite hiker, as evidenced by the fact that I was moving quickly to catch up with my nine year old son and husband who were soundly beating me down the mountain. That is the slippery thing about comparing. There are always people who are better, which leaves us chasing something we can never catch. Even if you are killing it from someone else’s perspective, likely you still find yourself coming up short.

I’m curious how many things do we really need to excell in to have a full and meaningful life?

For me, writing is one thing which comes easy. Gardening another. Also deep conversations about new growth and the way life is surprising us with its magic and grace. And the joy of breaking a complicated idea into little lovely pieces, like on ramps to the beauty and elegance of the whole structure. So that is like four things? Sure there are a more but honestly when I start to think about all the goodness just the ones I’ve listed here bring into my days, it is starting to feel like a full life.

What comes easily for you?

What have you worked hard to cultivate to a point where it looks easy now?

And of course there are other areas of life where we don’t naturally excel. This is where we get support. Or rest in the web of our connections and let someone else catch that. For example, I have a coaching client who is an engineer in a national lab. She is literally a rocket scientist and her research makes her come alive. How easy is it for me to say, “Oh honey, I’m so glad you have that covered because it is so not my area of expertise!” Similarly accounting comes to mind (despite my dad’s hopes).

This can be a fun exercise of freedom: listing all the things you aren’t good at.

What don’t you make look easy?

Lets see: in addition to engineering and accounting for me that list includes handstands (I crashed into the wall at a recent yoga class), planning logistical details, and smalltalk of pretty much all kinds.

Thank the sweet heavens we don’t have to be good at everything. I’d love to hear what comes easy to you and what doesn’t in a comment below.
XO

Courtney
PS Do you feel a new iteration of your life beckoning and rather than looking the other way you want to say yes to these deep, soulful nudges? If you would you like my support as you move through this process I will be opening up my FLOURISH formula program for another beta coaching group in May. (This is your opportunity to get a sneak peak on the material as I put finishing touches on the book before it will be published later this year.) If you would like to learn more I have a limited number of Discovery Sessions available when I get back from Mexico and I would love to talk with you. You can view my calendar and grab your Discovery Session today. Xxo

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 busy women who want to unlock their greatest gifts 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. You can read about options for working with Courtney here and reach her directly at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

Want to get the latest from Courtney? Sign up below for weekly updates on soulful living!

Vintage Bird: How to Be Sensitive + Happy

I’ve been letting my little book baby out of of the nest this week (to members of my Flourish coaching program beta group + participants in my upcoming retreat in Mexico). How tender it can feel to share something new. But we don’t write books all for ourselves, do we? This experience reminded me of one of my favorite posts, on how to be sensitive and happy. Read on below!
xxo
Courtney
PS My beta coaching program on the eight step FLOURISH process is just getting started! We had our first recorded session yesterday so it is totally a great time to hop in and move with us through the program. If you are interested reach out to cp@courtneypinkerton.com and I’ll share the details.

How to Be Sensitive + Happy

Like many of my coaching clients I am sensitive. I have been told this so often, especially throughout my childhood, that I have developed a sort of love/hate relationship with the very word.

Someone uses the S word to describe me and I feel a deep energy rise up inside: one part exasperation (tell me something I don’t know!) and alongside it a longing for a different temperament (being thick-skinned strikes me as an easier way to go through life.)

Often, there is a not so subtle subtext to calling someone sensitive.

It can mean “suck it up, your emotionality is making me uncomfortable!”

Or “why can’t you handle things easier. Perhaps more like I do?”

Or even “please stop reminding me of the inherent suffering and deep beauty of life. I’m working very hard to keep from opening that door of recognition within myself right now!”

Yet the truth is—we need our sensitives.

But before I go any further singing the praises of sensitive people I must first insert a big caveat. Sensitives can get attached to their deep feelings and woundedness. This can lead to going through life simply waiting for the next sting to reinforce your story of yourself. And this, clearly, is not much fun.

So like any of our soul gifts, it matters how sensitivity is held.

But in a culture which values strength over almost any other attribute it is important to remember that sensitives are one necessary element in a healthy community.  Likewise, each one of us, regardless of our particular temperament, needs to integrate our sensitive parts into the wholeness of who we are. For it is out of this space of alignment that we live our most inspired life and in fact have our biggest impact.

Now it doesn’t always feel like leading with your tender bits is the way to go. In fact, I’ve spend years, (years I tell you!) pushing down my sensitive side. I’ve driven myself hard — working feverishly behind the scenes to make my accomplishments look easy. (My family and good friends could always tell you the truth of it.)

This is the unexpected pattern I see also in my client’s lives. Being sensitive hasn’t kept them from doing things. Big things. Things like running their own media or music companies, publishing popular books, managing international development projects, heading large non-profits, creating gutsy art, or radically reorienting their lives to be present with their kids. (Or all of the above!)

So you might not see their sensitivity on the outside. But while they are busy getting stuff done they feel the inner dissonance.

In fact, under tending to one’s sensitive side has serious repercussions. It takes a toll on mental health and physical wellbeing and can lead to high levels of anxiety and low levels of happiness.

But it takes a big dose of courage and daring to heed the desire of a sensitive heart for expression and to discern options for integrating it into work and family life.

Often rest is the first step.

And it can help enormously to find a skilled practitioner to help tune into this deeper register.

At different points in my journey I have benefited greatly from the support of an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, yoga teacher, naturopath, therapist, chiropractor, Reiki master, Enneagram teachers and several skilled coaches. I feel such deep gratitude for each one of these healers, there when I needed them (several are still in my life!) and always leaving me more restored and resilient than before.

This journey to honor rather than step over sensitivity is a central motivator behind my holistic life coaching.

Holistic coaching recognizes that a person’s heart, mind, body & spirit are in intimate interconnection and that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Holism is a frequently used theory also in ecology and language. Think about the way a forest ecosystem is more nuanced than what can be captured in a list of its tree species or other elements. And the way a poem has more power than you might suspect if someone merely gave you a list of the included vocabulary.

How it is all knit together (forest, poem, you) and the interplay between all the complex elements is where the magic is.

What that means practically is that I support people in going through their body and its wisdom to re-design their life – using tools such as acupressure (tapping), stress reduction, and the biggie—meditation to reset neural pathways and open up new possibilities. All in a gentle, step by step fashion.

We do lots of other things together too of course, including talking, identifying personality patterns and deep desires, laughing, and sometimes crying (tears can be a holy part of letting out the old to make space for the new.)

And in this process people are able to honor, integrate, and ultimately employ their sensitive side as a partner and guide in life. What does this look like? The answer will be as unique as you.

For me holding energetic space for clients, hosting space at a retreat center, and writing as well as simple acts, like snipping a tiny bouquet of herbs for the tea tray give expression to my sensitive side. What a different feeling it is to treat this attribute like it has gifts to bring rather than driving over it toward my next goal.

Seriously, our world needs the sensitive people: owning their sensitive skillz and employing them to heal themselves and others, whatever their profession.

Because here is the secret. Your tender heart + underbelly is also where your deep joy is housed. Integrating that part of you is the most efficient way to go from this moment to your sweetest life—the one full of meaning and opportunities to serve out of your gifts, including, your sensitive nervous system.

Warmly,

Courtney

Over to you– do you identify as a sensitive?

How do you take care of and nurture your sensitive side as strength and not weakness?

I’d love to hear your experience… leave a quick comment below!

I’m sharing some favorite Vintage Bird posts this spring while I catch my breath from book writing. 
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 working with Courtney here or you can reach her directly at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

Want to get the latest from Courtney? Sign up below for weekly updates on soulful living!


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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My Favorite Question + Photo Reveal for Retreat in Mexico

My favorite question when meeting someone new has long been “What have you been loving lately?”* I think it gets around two big roadblocks: our over-emphasis on work i.e. “What do you do?” and the superficial exchange i.e. “How are you?” which tends to elicit a “fine” regardless of the deeper reality.

But lately I’m flirting with a new question – “What have you been creating lately?” Because after a week in which I hosted my Soulpreneur Virtual Retreat (with women birthing new writing, business dreams and more) and spent most of the rest of the time crafting the invitation to my upcoming retreat in Mexico I feel like I am on very intimate terms with the creative process. It is all I want to talk about.

Not the whole arc of it, which as you know can take months or years. But the acute, most intense phase. Where you are literally bringing something through the veil from the world of ideas, dreams, intentions to the material plane aka “the real world” where other people can interact with it. (This doorway from San Miguel reminds me of such a liminal zone.)

One thing which confused me for years about the creative process is its relationship with our own stress response.

With coaching clients and in my own life I work with the body compass. Essentially the language of the body is expansion when pointed in a direction which aligns for you or contraction when you are making a decision which doesn’t jive with your essential self.

We all have many layers. Your essential self is that deepest, most truthful part of you whereas your social self is the part which wants to play by the rules and be seen as successful or fitting in. Maybe the easiest explanation of the difference is to simply remember a time when your head was talking you into something because you “should” do it and your gut was protesting fiercely.

But decoding the body compass is not always that simple. Because we don’t usually have a lot of practice listening to it. In fact we are taught in school and many families to override the body nudges and to hold in or push down the somatic or emotional feelings that get in the way of moving ahead.

But, and this I think is the really interesting part, there is another way our body compass read gets muddy.

When we are actually stretching into a really juicy, brave, interesting decision and in so doing trip our own stress response.

So on the deepest level your body/soul voice may be saying hell yes! And your poor amygdala which is always on the lookout for threats interprets all that extra energy coursing through your body and the natural dose of fear of the unknown as if it were a tiger about to pounce. Hello fight or flight response!

As my favorite Ennea teacher reminds me, the body “boots us out of presence” on both ends of the continuum: when something really threatening is happening and when something completely amazing is happening that is more than we let ourselves imagine for our lives aka when we are scarecited!

So….the next time you are ready to sit down and write something brave or invest some significant cash securing a fabulous home in Mexico based on your heart/gut sense that women do in fact want to travel internationally to retreat with you, or otherwise create in a way which stretches your comfort –- remember this conversation. And see if you can attend to the extra support you might need to move the energy of your fight/flight/freeze response through your tissues.

How to Move Your Stress Energy While Creating? 

This whole process of pulling together details for the international retreat has gone slower than my social self would have liked. Communicating with the international host and getting the contract signed, working with my VA to confirm availability and details about the boutique hotels near the retreat venue (for those not staying in the house), making a video to invite you into the retreat.

But it was being born in its own time. And as I shared this week on social media I required frequent breaks to bring this retreat vision through to the other side. I even started running again (normally I’m a walker) just out of the sheer need to discharge some of my excitement! Talking with friends and getting coaching was also vital. As was making out with my husband. And acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Eating warm lunches.

All of these help move the extra energy of creation through my tissues and send the message to my body and nervous system that “Hey, we got this!”

I’m working on so many fun details regarding my retreat including a payment plan for those of you who would like to space out your investment in monthly chunks. Here are some photos to whet the appetite:



See?!! I literally fall asleep sometimes just feeling like I’m already in this house with those of you who likewise know that it is just what you need: to stretch yourself, to reawaken your senses, to nourish yourself on the deepest level.

Maybe that sounds weird but I think that is part of the process of conscious creation. Becoming the person who wrote the book, who hosted the international retreat or who created a life that she loved. And taking small actions today from that place, while taking care of your nervous system along the way.

So friends, next week. Next week.

Warmly, Courtney
PS I do have a special offer for those who can handle my “rough cut” and who expressed an interest in this retreat either via social media or attending a previous one. If this is you but you didn’t yet fill out my survey or otherwise indicate your interest contact me at cp@courtneypinkerton.com and I’ll send you the pre-offer pronto. xo
*Credit to my friend the gifted writer and teacher Sarah Moore for this great question. Photo Credit my fabulous VA and gifted photographer Eileen West.

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Could You Use a Do-Over? New Year Virtual Retreat Details + Big News

Let’s meet in the greenhouse to squeeze some fruit, shall we? This is my vision for the upcoming Soulpreneur virtual retreat this Thursday Jan 26th. A time to check in on what has been growing in your life. Take a bite. See what is ready to be planted in your work, creativity, home and rest. If you feel like the New Year got away from you… this is for you!

I am opening the Soulpreneur Mastermind for 2017 to new members for one week only, so if you are interested I hope you will register today! I have also created a new option where you can get one on one support alongside our regular monthly group call (which in January includes the virtual retreat.)

I also want to let you know that I have some big news coming next week about my Spring Retreat. It is happening in San Miguel de Allende at the most gorgeous house you could imagine. Heated pool, interior courtyard, fabulosity.

It has been a boisterous week as I figured out if all the pieces were going to come together. Oh yes and starting my 9 week “idea to done” book program. I’ve had to use my own soulpreneur skillz (and wise coach friends) to stay connected and hopeful. But now I literally can’t wait to tell you _all_ about it. For now get your passport ready and put the dates May 4-7 on your calendar. And thank you to everyone who completed my online quiz + responded on Facebook with your preferences, that was a huge gift to me in discerning next steps.

xxo Courtney “Feel the Stretch and Do it Anyway” Pinkerton

Who needs a Soulpreneur Mastermind?

If you are a creative woman who wants to feel more intentional about your busy schedule

You want to write more

To invest in a new biz or side biz

Or to deepen inside existing work + roles so that they better match your unique gifts and contributions

You can gain a community of fellow dreamers and doers, my favorite resources for breaking big goals into “turtle steps,” plus encouragement for taking that dream from “out there” to “right here and totally possible.”

Read on for all the details of this month’s theme + reply back to me with any questions.

Next week for the virtual retreat we meet at 9am. Zoom call if you want to see my face and share yours or just call in, whichever you prefer.

Then I’ll lead us in a guided meditation together.

We will spend a few minutes warming up our brains and covering any questions about resources I have shared with the Mastermind.

Then I’ll review the highlights from my audio lesson on how to design your own custom retreat. Then it is intention time. I used to be annoyed by setting intensions. But now I think I better understand, it is a humble posture. A way of claiming how you want to offer yourself to a certain time or practice even as you remain open.

So we will each name how will use the morning. It is a great time to couple some intensional self-care +meditation with mapping out your upcoming 6 months or year and identifying the core themes. (I’ll be sharing my super simple yet strangely effective sticky note practice.)

Then we will set about our unique work and reconvene at 1pm CST to share what we accomplished.

If you can’t spend the whole time retreating that is fine too! You can just join the call 1-2:15PM or join us in the morning too but not dedicate your whole day to the retreat. Totally up to you to custom create what you need. I will be present in the accompanying Facebook group if any questions pop up. And of course the whole thing will be recorded so you could easily use it as a guide for a retreat on a weekend or other day.

Also wanted to mention what I’ll be covering in the audio call to help you prep for retreat:

3 tips for clearing space in your mind and consciousness for your custom retreat

What not to do in a retreat

My favorite resources to draw from to guide your time in the retreat

What to have on hand

Suggestions on when and how to retreat even in a busy schedule.

So if this sounds fun to you I’d love to have you! You can register here!
The audio lesson and written guide is now available in your private members page — instructions following once you join.

Reply here with any questions and hope to “see” you soon!

Warmly,

Courtney

I’ve included the details about our Jan, Feb, and March Soulpreneur topics below.

Here is what you can expect in 2017:

Our first call will be a super fun optional half day virtual retreat.

We will still have our regular audio lesson and written guide for January released ahead of our call on how to design your own custom soulpreneur retreat. We will then have our regular live group call (and chance for coaching around the content and goals) on the 26th from 1-2:15PM. For those who are interested in the virtual retreat, we will a bonus rendezvous on Zoom so we can see each others faces — or you can simply call in if you don’t like Zoom — at 9am that morning to set intentions for the day and do some opening activities. Then we will break and each work on our own goals and reconvene with the group call at 1pm.

Sound fun?

Also I’ve opened up a combo package where Mastermind members can get a one on one coaching session with me each month. So you will see that option including the coaching plus other payment options for the Mastermind available on the registration link.

Then my sense is we need a chance to exhale. So February will be our self love/integration month with no new content but a bonus live Q and A call so you will have our regular group coaching session plus another call. This will free up lots of time for your questions to be answered about any of the content we have covered so far and also your own Soulpreneur goals. *New members will also have access to a library of previous lessons in this month on the Change Cycle, Creating Your Freedom Calendar, and Discovering Your Super Powers. So lot’s of content to enjoy! Dates for Feb calls are Thursday Feb 2 and Thursday Feb 16 1-2:15PM). All calls will be recorded.

Lastly March we will be talking about celebration. If you think this is lame, fluffy stuff — o contraire! It is a super important tool for Soulpreneurs and change agents of any stripe. So we will be talking about how (and why) to celebrate the wins in your life and honoring your accomplishments in this group — big or small! March Mastermind live call is Thursday 23rd 1-2:15PM.

I only have 2 spots remaining for Mastermind members who would like the option for one on one coaching support. (In the private call we will be focusing on you and your specific goals– so that you can get super clear on next steps and have the support and accountability to follow through.) So if you know you are ready to invest in your own momentum with some targeted one on one support I hope you will reserve your spot today. Here is your registration link.
Here is a reminder of what we have covered so far and where we are headed with this Soulpreneur Mastermind:

Thursday October 20 Where are You in the Change Cycle?

Thursday November 10 Craft Your Freedom Schedule

Thursday December 15 What are Your Super-Powers?

Thursday January 26 Soulpreneur Virtual Biz Retreat (Mapping Your Year)

Thursday February 2 & 16 Integration Month: This is your chance to catch your breath, show yourself some love, and ask any questions which have come up so far as well as get coached on your unique challenges in the bonus Q & A call.

Thursday March 23 Celebration!
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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Want to Run Away to Mexico with Me? (Real Question… Quiz Inside)

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

Let’s do less, live more in 2017.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is where you come in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tentative Dates are Thurs May 4 -Sun May 7.

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

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

Warmly,

Courtney

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

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Be Seen in 2017

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

Aaah. Yes. Yes it is.

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

Love and all the good,

Courtney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I Get Ready for the New Year

Step Number One:

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

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

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

Step Number Two:

Tell the Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also notice your body compass as you engage your list.

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

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

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

If something is out of alignment for you. Recalibrate.

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

But the body doesn’t lie.

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

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

Instead ask these questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lastly Step Three:

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

How to structure your next beautiful steps?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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