When I find myself in rooms with wise people I always wonder the same questions:

Does what you do on the outside match who you are on the inside?

And more… are you happy?

Not in a fleeting way but in a deep, wholehearted way?

I have this thing about teachers. I am always hungry for a mentor.

Which drives me to attend many a lecture, meditation workshop, and conference. I’ve heard esteemed lamas, spiritual masters and prolific authors speak.

And often the answer to these questions would seem to be yes. In fact the more I move up the teacher food chain, the more irreverent and playful they become.

But other times I sense a dissonance — like maybe they are playing a part or have developed their intuition or spiritual dimensions at a cost to their bodies. And other times I simply feel an awareness that this teacher is not for me.

Discernment of our guides is a vital part of the growth process.

And in this season of my life I am clear that I’m not looking for a guru.

Or someone to mold me into them (been there).

I’m looking for teachers who are authentic.

Who help me be more of myself.

And who show me how to live with my weaknesses, vulnerabilities and honesty as part of the package.

I just got back from an immersion in the Enneagram + Body Wisdom this weekend in Austin. (The Enneagram = an ancient personality map and one of my favorite tools for transformative inner work.) The photo above shows me with two of the most gifted Enneagram teachers I know of, Marion Gilbert and Terry Saracino, who led the training.

We meditated. We did energy and body movements. We heard from panels of people sharing their experience of their personality type. We received live coaching from Marion and Terry to aid in identifying how our personality habits live as neural pathways or tracks in the body as well as how to soften and work with these habits.

And after hours and hours of all the above plus other trainings I can say with full clarity:

These ladies are the real deal.

I don’t hold them on a pedestal. I know they are full human beings with lives and relationships most of which I know little about.

But they are masters at holding space.

Space where I am equipped with fresh tools for how to work with the wisdom of my body rather than “pushing the spiritual bypass button” and somehow pretending that the signals and symptoms from my tissues are not intimately related to my life and path.

Space to connect with other people at various ages and stages who are also committed to this work in their lives.

And space to sit on a panel and share a piece of my story during which my chest began to vibrate. This happened at a previous training where I learned that shaking is evidence of the body releasing old or stored energy. My heart took advantage of that moment with the field of kindness in the room and Marion’s guidance to do some serious thawing. (I had gotten caught in a “freeze response” i.e. numbing my heart space as a way of coping with the intensity of the sensations. This tracks with my personality type (3) and is one example of how our type lives in our tissues. Other types are more likely to get caught in a fight or flight response. See… I told you this stuff is interesting.)

Now over to you… have you had teachers who inspired you?  

Who helped you grow into you rather than molding you into them?

I’d love to hear in a comment below. Warmly, Courtney

PS I know not everyone is as into the Enneagram as I am or has the time and resources to sit in a room with these beloveds. Which is one of the challenges which lights me up: how to make complex spiritual tools, like the Enneagram and meditation, accessible in everyday life for busy people. Because none of us is meant to do this awareness work alone. So if you could use some custom support or would like help identifying or working with your personality type, I have two more spots open for my Spring Clean coaching package this month. Reply to this email with questions or if you are ready to get started!

Below I share a few more pics of Austin beauty. For the fun.

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. xxo

Spring Clean




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.

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

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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