Today we get to do something fun: give you permission to create your own meaning and magic. I also nerd out a bit, which you can read in full below in the fourth and final reflection in my series “Don’t Go Hungry: Preserving Your Own Growth During the Holidays.” You can catch up on any posts you missed in this series over on my new website!

Also, as I mentioned last week, Bird in Hand Coaching will be taking a break for the holidays from Dec 20th through Jan 8th while my family and I head to Costa Rica. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to resist sharing some behind the scenes shots of our adventures over on Instagram and Facebook if you want to connect there!

And stay tuned, next week I have cued up a new video with my three favorite questions to help you end the year clean and light.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and a celebration of hope, love, joy and all the good.

Courtney

PS As you are able I totally recommend losing your phone on purpose some over the holidays and enjoying a well-earned fast from email overload. If you need something to do instead you can grab (and gift) your Kindle copy of The Flourish Formula: An Overachiever’s Guide to Slowing Down & Accomplishing More here. xo

I am going to let you in on a little-known secret: We are seriously under ritualized in the US. This is a documented phenom! There is a field at the intersection of religion and anthropology called “ritual studies” and it was one of my favorite courses in grad school at Harvard. 

What does this mean?

Essentially humans need ritual. Think of it as community art. We need shared stories and shared beauty. Bones on which to hang the meaning of our little lives. (Lives which of course feel really big and important to us, most of the time, which can be part of the problem.) 

Rituals function similarly to nature. They help us get perspective and relax our vision back out to remember the ways that we are knitted in with the whole. And many of us don’t have enough rituals to guide our lives. In fact this is one of the main reasons people feel blue around December – because one holiday can’t hold the full weight of our need for mystery and magic. It needs to be spread out over several different types of gatherings and moments.

Sure we have religious traditions in the U.S. but many people feel adrift or alienated from their inherited religion (if they inherited one). And even those who love their tradition can at times hunger for something deeper than what they may encounter in the teachings of their family or local community and wonder where they can find it.

What gets in the way of finding the deeper layer of meaning or teaching that we are hungry for?

First of all you have to give yourself permission to be open to meaning and magic that arrive in fresh packages, sometimes even in experiences you design for yourself.

I used to think I wasn’t qualified to design rituals for myself.

Or that rituals were cheesy or fluffy or fringe.

But now I appreciate that they are a vital part of my life and our family culture.

In fact, with coaching clients, we attend closely to everyday rituals, like our morning routine. Because it turns out that creating a life we love doesn’t start “out there” with the big goals, but actually with finding a way to enjoy our days, beginning with with how we start them. A simple experience that helps us wake up our senses, like a warm cup of fresh-squeezed lemon water, can be a powerful daily detox and ritual.

So too annual celebrations and holidays need tending. Our final strategy for preserving your own growth through the holidays is to make sure that you have home-crafted rituals which bring meaning and a “slow down and reset” quality to your life. For example:

One of our family favorite rituals is a green Advent wreath made of aromatic herbs and vintage buttons. I designed and created this practice to fill a need in my own family and for fun decided to share it as a workshop at our community art studio. I was was amazed at how many people showed up. I think many of us are hungry for fresh interpretations of ancient wisdom. *Bonus, this one is super easy to recreate in any setting year to year without a lot of Christmas storage.

Just the act of leaving home and entering silence can be its own simple ritual. I have a friend who rents a vintage RV via Airbnb in the desert of West Texas to take herself on a solo retreat to start the new year.

And long-time mentors/friends of my husband keep a beautiful garden in Seattle where in addition to growing gorgeous tomatoes and other veggies, they have planted trees and flowers in memory of family they have lost. Before any big holiday or celebration they light incense and take a quiet moment to walk around pausing and placing one in front of each of these plants as an act of remembrance.

When we give ourselves permission to get a little creative and playful, we have the capacity to establish beautiful, elegant and sustaining home practices. This is a powerful way to preserve your own growth through the holidays and beyond.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this series about preserving your growth through the holidays (and managing families:)) as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Again, you can catch up on the first three posts over on the blog on my website (and share your comments!).

Wishing you a holiday season of magic and surprises.

Love and all the good,

Courtney

PS If you are looking for a last minute gift, I have included instructions below for how you can give a Kindle copy of The Flourish Formula: An Overachiever’s Guide to Slowing Down & Accomplishing More to a friend or family member. 

How to Purchase a Kindle Book as a Gift

You can give Kindle books as a gift to anyone. (All you need is an email address, theirs or yours.)
 
You can send or receive Kindle books as gifts even if you do not own a Fire tablet or Kindle e-reader. Recipients can read a Kindle book gift on a supported Amazon device or Kindle reading app. Before you purchase a Kindle book as a gift, make sure that the recipient’s email address is valid.
 
Note: In order to gift a Kindle book title, you will need a valid 1-Click payment method for your account. You can set this up by going to Manage Your Content and Devices, selecting the Settings tab, and then clicking Edit Payment Method below Digital Payment Settings.
 
To purchase a Kindle book as a gift:
 
From the Kindle Store in your desktop browser, select the book you want to purchase as a gift: The Flourish Formula.
 
On the product detail page, click the Give as a Gift button.

Enter the personal email address of your gift recipient.

Tip: If you are unsure of the email address for your recipient or want it to be a surprise you can select Email the gift to me before placing your order.

This allows you to forward the gift email or print and personally deliver it to your recipient. The gift recipient can enter the Gift Claim Code from the email, after logging in to their Amazon account.

Enter a delivery date and an optional gift message.

Click Place your order to finish your gift purchase using your Amazon 1-Click payment method.

You can redeliver a Kindle book gift you’ve purchased by going to Your Digital Orders in Your Account. From the Order Summary page, click the Resend E-mail button.

“Dear Courtney,
Your book, The Flourish Formula, will be MY GIFT to myself, my mother and many close friends this Christmas season. Thank you for creating a “guide” for us to find balance in our lives and appreciation for the unique lives each of us leads. Wishing you and your family love and many blessings this holiday season. Congrats on the new book and website! Xoxo Catherine”

Join Catherine and Gift The Flourish Formula Here.

 

 

Courtney Pinkerton is a certified holistic life coach and the author of the Amazon bestseller, The Flourish Formula: An Overachiever’s Guide to Slowing Down & Accomplishing More. Courtney is a student and a teacher of the Enneagram who has helped hundreds of busy women (and a few inspiring men) slow down and accomplish and enjoy more in their life. She holds dual master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the creator of the flourish coaching methodology and the Flourish Formula for Families. After selling their house and all their belongings and spending a year adventuring in Nicaragua and being tutored by their neighbors in the art of slowing down and living more, Courtney and her husband Richard Amory and their three children are making a new home in Asheville, North Carolina.

 

 

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