It sounds like a bad dream but that is how my day started recently, not yet dressed and the chickens on the loose.

Like so many families, we are getting creative with our back to school choices this year. Online learning was not working for our youngest so we decided to enroll her in a Waldorf educational co-operative on a farm. This new setting is a great fit for our girl and for this COVID moment. She has a small class, a seasoned teacher and lots of time outside.

Rosetta came home the first couple of days radiant with happiness and cooked to a crisp because she fiercely resisted wearing a sunhat or sunscreen. I tried all my tricks, even sharing the fancy sunscreen I picked up this summer in a tourist town in the hills of North Carolina. It smells like wild orange and honey! We rustled up every hat in the house, including this awesome one I brought back from Costa Rica. And she was not having any of it. 

On her third day, I woke up to Rosetta already in tears and her dad deeply frustrated at her unwillingness to put on sufficient sunscreen or a hat. We decided to let her stay home for an “integration day” — to keep her from further baking, douse her in aloe, and find a solution.

But when you rideshare to the new school with your cohousing neighbors, one change can lead to wild chickens.

Our neighbor’s daughter didn’t want to go to school without Rosetta or accept the ride from Rich, and her dad was in the middle of cleaning out the coop. He decided to drive his daughter so she would feel more comfortable and left the chickens in the care of my friend, who had an early and important meeting. So she called us. All this went down, as do the best family challenges, while I was still in pajamas. I threw on clothes and Rich and I channeled some deep muscle memory of life with chickens from our Peace Corps days in rural Nicaragua and we worked together to get the hens all back in the coop.¬†

What helps me navigate bumpy days like this one?

Where it all goes off the edge before I even have my yerba mate?

The Enneagram. It walks me home, again and again, to myself. And from that deep place of essence, I can most easily identify the choices and supports that make the moment lighter.

Depending on the day this could be yielding to the needs of my body and rest, or remembering that emotions are intelligent and slowing down enough to feel them in my body or identifying and dissolving painful old thoughts that are adding extra pressure. 

The other thing that I find essential to my wellbeing right now is connecting to friends, coaches, and mentors who hold the bigger perspective and remind me of the deeper truths I can lose amidst the intensity of daily life.  

And when all else fails I take a breath and remember the mantra pinned to my vision board:

“You do not have to be enough.
Being you is enough. Anything beyond that is a bonus.”

One of my deepest hopes for this challenging time it is that it might grow my capacity to be ever more authentic in my life and work, to laugh at myself, and to honor, WITNESS and support other women who are similarly committed to inner growth and caught in new and upending challenges.

If you are ready to release extra pressure and find more ease in your relationships, starting with your relationship with yourself… Here are three ways I can help:

Grab a copy of my book,¬†The Flourish Formula¬†(paperback or Kindle)¬†to learn more about the Enneagram and a wealth of mindbody practices which help you come home to yourself, get clear about next steps and enjoy resiliency in the face of the unexpected¬†‚ÄstClick Here.

Join my Flourish Formula for Families self-paced course. Find more ease in your relationships and learn fresh stress-reducing tools that you can immediately apply yourself and share with those you love. Pay-from-the- heart pricing is now available, which brings the price to under $100. Your enrollment supports the Loveland Foundation to provide mental health support to Black women and girls. Click Here to learn more.

Consider one on one support. I have been coaching for 8+ years and I love working privately with conscious women (and a handful of men). We really get into your Enneagram challenges and stuck places and help you find lasting relief. I have two spots opening for private clients starting in September. Send me a note to with the word “September coaching” in the subject line for more info and to see if it is the right fit for you.¬†

I hope you have a beautiful week full of growth, ease, and goodness.


PS How did we solve the power struggle with Rosetta? We ordered her a special hat with a dragonfly on it, the symbol of her class at school. I think the tender pain of a burned scalp may also have persuaded her change in attitude. ūüėČ

The first of what I am sure will be many photos of our new chickens. Here Rosetta and her friend are putting the chickens in their new home on the day they arrived.

Courtney Pinkerton is a certified life coach and the author of the Amazon bestseller, The Flourish Formula: An Overachiever's Guide to Slowing Down & Accomplishing More.

Courtney is an inner life coach and Enneagram mentor. She helps conscious women (and a few amazing men!) to pursue their most salient creative, professional and quality-of-life dreams and to discover more pleasure in their everyday.

She has dual master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is a certified Wayfinder life coach and has been studying the Enneagram with master teachers for over a decade. After selling their house and all their belongings and spending a year in Nicaragua tutored by their neighbors in the art of slowing down and living more, Courtney and her husband and their three children now make their home in a co-housing community in Asheville, North Carolina.