Don’t Go Hungry: How to Preserve Your Own Growth This Holiday Season

Don’t Go Hungry: How to Preserve Your Own Growth This Holiday Season

I’m hours away from slipping into my two week mini sabbatical and I can feel it whispering to me. Honestly I’m no different than my kids who just came in from school ready to slough off backpacks and drop into long days with little agenda.

Last year at this time we were living in Nicaragua and en route to Costa Rica for a Christmas with a view.  And I keep comparing that adventure to where I am this holiday, which is ready to go nowhere requiring a car trip much less a passport. Instead I’m craving simple, homey pleasures. What the Danes call “hygge” or the art of cozy.

Before I go I want to re-share a post from last year called “Don’t Go Hungry” full of tips on how to preserve yourself (and your own growth) through the holidays.

And wish you a bright and happy celebration season and a beautiful start to the new year. 

Courtney

Don’t Go Hungry 

I had a fun Thanksgiving hosted by new friends in a beautiful colonial home. They threw open their doors to all the expat/American folks in Granada and dozens of us came together in their patio courtyard for a lively potluck among the palm trees. It was really tasty and my husband and I were so grateful to not have to try to cook a turkey in our tiny kitchen and to be able to introduce visiting family, his sister and dad, to more of our community. I even scored the elusive family photo! (Don’t mind Perl. I made her wear a dress).

But I broke a cardinal rule for myself and came to the party hungry. The gathering started at 3PM but we didn’t really eat until after 5PM and by that time I was seriously ready to gnaw off my arm. Similarly it doesn’t serve you to head to family gatherings hungry for approval from your parents, your siblings or other relatives. Now of course don’t go and be a robot or totally frozen inside, but I am pointing out how much pressure it can take off you (and them) if you don’t really expect your family to be excited about your new low-sugar diet/Chi Gong practice/Enneagram course and how it has all changed your life.

In fact I encourage you to feel totally empowered to hold all that goodness inside. Seriously, you don’t have to share it. In fact, as Brene Brown reminds us, people have to earn your vulnerability. Think of all that is stirring and shifting inside you as a glorious secret, a new way of living which is opening you wide to life.

And filled from the inside out, it can be easier to simply practice the art of listening. Strange things can happen when you don’t need the people in your life to validate your choices. Knots can untangle. Ways can open. Ease can find you.

Now please don’t ignore your own needs and go to extremes (which can trigger our inner martyr). So if someone is talking nonstop and it exhausts you, feel free to share some of your own thoughts or simply excuse yourself to get a drink of water or head to the bathroom.

Family gatherings are the masterclass of personal development work. 

And meeting resistance to your growth is actually a really important part of the growth process. So if you have been feeling pretty enlightened on your recent retreat but find you are climbing out of your skin sitting next to Aunt Margaret — know that this experience is 100% normal. To be expected even. So have some compassion for yourself.

Similarly, you growing and changing can provoke all kinds of things in the hearts and minds of people who know you.Maybe they are afraid they are losing you or their connection. Maybe they feel like you are so advanced you don’t need them anymore. Maybe they are just busy inside of their own pain and confusion or perhaps your journey is waking dreams of their own which had long ago gone dormant. All of this can be uncomfortable. So hold them with compassion too.

Yet here is the thing: you can’t do anything about your family or any one else’s reaction to you. You can’t even really know what it is.

But what you can do something about is how well nourished you are going into any conversations or family time which you find challenging. Meditate, exercise, get a good night sleep. Fill up on your favorite self-care strategies and love yourself well before you head into the festivities. Don’t go hungry. 

Love,

Courtney
PS Even though I will be mostly unplugged over the holidays I have a beautiful option for you if you would like support: the DIY Flourish Digital Coaching Program. It makes a great last minute gift for a loved one or for yourself!

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 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 eight-step Flourish Formula Coaching program, and hosts international retreats for women. 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.

My Year End Mini-Sabbatical + How to Plan Yours!

My Year End Mini-Sabbatical + How to Plan Yours!

This week I continue with my Fall series From Squished to Spacious: How to Create a Schedule You Love by sharing how I plan my mini-sabbatical this time of year and easy tips for you. Also, I want to let you know I have a news for you next week. So be on the look for that in your inbox. Here is a hint – it is something fun to GIVE or to GET – and is a special opportunity to put a flourishing touch on your holiday gifting this year.
 
Can’t wait to share the details. 

Xo Courtney
From Squished to Spacious — How to Create a Schedule You Love

So far in this series we have talked about two important steps to creating a calendar you love:

Putting the fun FIRST and

Scheduling “White Space” around Demanding Activities.

But sometimes to create a schedule you love requires honoring that you crave MORE rest or renewal than can be found in your regular rhythm: enter the {mini} sabbatical.

What is a sabbatical? The root comes from the Hebrew “sabbath” or the Greek “sabbatikos, literally a “ceasing,” and is any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest or to engage in new learning. 

This for me is the difference between vacation and a mini-sabbatical. 

The sabbatical is about rest and time to lean into those things you want to learn but find it difficult to engage as part of your regular life. A sabbatical has a “time outside of time” quality and deposits you gently back in your regular life with a feeling of more space inside.

In fact it is like a retreat you plan for yourself, but usually longer.

(A retreat might be as short as one night but I think of a mini-sabbatical as a couple of weeks to a month.)

This winter break I am unplugging for two glorious weeks to play with my kids and make gingerbread  houses and read and rest and explore our new town together.

The truth is I am craving some downtime because y’all, this has been quite a year.

It has included some super high-highs like enjoying last Christmas and New Year on top of a mountain in Costa Rica and publishing my book, earning Amazon best-selling status and donating 50% of the proceeds of The Flourish Formula to some amazing Nica social ventures.

And it also contained some low lows like having to cancel a beautiful retreat and ultimately leave Nicaragua with our family because of the political and social metamorphosis which bubbled up in that country this spring.

And then the challenge of getting settled in a new city and buying all new furniture and household items and finding new schools, even as we are so happy to have settled in a co-housing community in our dream neighborhood of West Asheville.

So I am tired.

And I need more than just a little amount of white space.

I need mounds and mounds of it like the snow predicted this weekend. 

I need huge fluffy pillows I can lose myself in and a stack of books.

I need to sit under our twinkling tree and the stars which shine in through our skylights.

I need so much whitespace I can lay down all the “to-dos” and the shoulds and the LIST and feel the fullness of a big, juicy exhale.

I need time to talk to my soul.

To talk to the heart of my business.

To reconnect to the desires and longings which are stirring for this next season.

And to listen.
 So based on my experience planning this upcoming time here are some guiding concepts for creating YOUR mini sabbatical:

1) Choose Your Timing. For me August and Dec/Jan are good times for a mini-sabbatical. If you don’t work for yourself or in the academic or ministry fields increasingly even traditional employers value the sabbatical. (Visit your www.yoursabbatical.com for more details.)

2) Ask What Supports Do You Need?  Prepare your life so you can really unplug — and engage help ahead of time or to babysit your life while you do. My virtual assistant is hugely helpful here, as she is gifted at created business systems which mean I can keep my biz flowing with just little periodic check ins over these weeks. 

3) Design Your Learning Can you gather those books or online resources ahead of time so that you can sink in? Right now I’m fascinated by the relationship between women and money as a soulful or spiritual practice and have about five books on this subject at the ready including this gem.

4) Consider Fasting From Social Media. This practice alone can create a sabbatical in your brain!

Now over to you — could you plan a mini-sabbatical over the holidays or in 2019? I would love to hear your plans or challenges!

xo Courtney

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 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 eight-step Flourish Formula Coaching program, and hosts international retreats for women. 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.

You Don’t Have to Feel Guilty

You Don’t Have to Feel Guilty

The international council of fabulous parenting has ceased to offer their mama martyr medal. Maybe it is time for a fresh approach? Earlier this week I woke at 5AM and was confused by the luminous quality of our patio. It’s not the full moon — I mused. Why is everything so glowing and bright? That’s when I got the ding on my phone announcing both schools had snow days. Oh right…. that’s SNOW! My children were of course thrilled. They threw on every layer they own (after a year in the tropics our winter weather gear is pretty minimal) and ran out the door. Cheeks flame red and hearts pounding they came in and out all morning playing with new friends in our co-housing community, making hot chocolate and grabbing bites of bagels. I saw the snow and took a different approach. Knowing that I wouldn’t have to take Rosetta to school I grabbed my lemon water and sank back in bed with a good book. I took a quick look at my calendar and confirmed that my first coaching call wasn’t until later in the morning and I let myself enjoy the unexpected family time as well as savoring my own morning routine at a slower pace. This feeling of adaptability and resiliency is one of the qualities I most treasure in family life. It certainly has not always felt this way. In fact a hum of guilt used to lurk behind every decision, especially choices about balancing work and mama life. In a similar snow day in the past I would have had a hard time relaxing and enjoying myself. I might have tried to play with my kids but inside felt distracted and frustrated by the disruption in my schedule. (And then guilty about how I felt!) Alternatively when I was working I would sometimes feel guilty that I had opted out of volunteering for the kindergarten holiday cookie swap or field trip …. especially when I saw other moms posting adorable photos with captions like “I wouldn’t miss this moment for the world.” Guilt felt heavy and sticky and around every corner. It took some major changes in my life (like learning the Enneagram and decoding those inner voices which keep the internal pressure on HIGH) to find my way into a daily life with more ease, play and fun. Something that I wanted for my children and secretly, for myself. This topic is something I share more about in my upcoming Flourish Formula for Families online coaching program + ecourse. In fact I am offering a whole masterclass on decoding guilt and helping you identify the difference between “productive” guilt (which is something you can do something about) and “unproductive guilt” (which is actually a cover for other deeper emotions.) Once you know the difference so many elegant and fresh options open for you in your family relationships. And it becomes so much easier to feel peace in your choices. When you feel peaceful — your kids feel it. This is one of the many ways that you doing your inner work or what I call “flourish work” naturally infuses your family life with goodness. So many of these tools (like the Enneagram, strategies for emotional literacy and mindbody tools for handling stress) most of us were not taught in simple, bite-size pieces as we grew. But we can learn them now. And share them with our children. Equipping them with the best we have got. And discovering that WE get to feel better too, along the way. The early bird discount for the Flourish Formula for Families program expires today. I heard feedback about problems with the coupon link (which is now fixed) so I’m extending the early bird price and $50 discount through the weekend. It expires Sunday Dec 2 at midnight. Click here to read more and register. If this class isn’t for you I’d love your help connecting to other families. Please forward it on to a friend or family member you think would enjoy it. It also makes a lovely holiday gift. Warmly, Courtney PS I recorded a really fun {gentle} kickstarter call for my early birders with 3 tips for handling holiday stress in your family. Click here for all the details and join today to take advantage of the early bird rate + special class. xo Courtney

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.

 

 

Want to get the latest from Courtney?

Sign up here and receive a digital copy of The Flourish Formula... Which when it was released earned Amazon best-seller status in Meditation, Time-Management and Life Skills!!

Sick of Gratitude Practices? Try This

Sick of Gratitude Practices? Try This

Gratitude is beautiful…. and so is authenticity.

Nothing feels worse than forcing yourself to feel up when you feel down.

Or telling yourself to feel grateful when really you feel grumpy and resentful. 

I mined the archives for a favorite post for you today on this theme. When I wrote it my husband and I were about to celebrate our tenth anniversary and now this weekend we are about to celebrate our fifteenth! It is fun to reread this post and remember the super specific things which brought me joy and reflect on those that do today. I hope it does the same for you. xo Courtney

Sick of Gratitude Practices? Try This!

One of the ways people get burned out on gratitude is because they list the same big things over and over again: health, children, job etc. Instead, it helps to get really specific.

The granular level is where life feels juicy!

Today I’m grateful for…

This gorgeous pumpkin we grew in our plot in the community garden. My first time to grow my own.

Fun art for my desk. I’m not sure what is going on exactly with the bear marionette, jumping whales, or upside down house… but I love the dynamism of the print (From WeAre1976), especially the gigantic girl. She seems really organic, in the flow of nature and life and powerful.

A friend gave me the art this weekend as an early birthday present: I am grateful for each of my 37 times around the sun.

And I celebrate my tenth wedding anniversary with a special trip this weekend with my man. I’m ever so grateful that our paths crossed in the Peace Corps. And for his great taste in music and the ease I feel in his company.

We are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year. I am grateful for a full house of family and friends (including 6 little ones under 7!) and the excuse to make several new gluten free desserts—especially chocolate pie and a pear and ginger crisp.

And this morning I am grateful for the warm cup of yerba mate at my hand and the pleasure of writing for a community of readers about that which feels fresh, authentic and spacious.

So as you reflect on gratitude this week see if you can get really specific. Like “I’m-grateful-that-this-bath-is-the-exact-right-temperature” specific. And see how it feels.

Not that gratitude is a job to do. More a multi-vitamin for the consciousness.

Birder, know I am grateful for you.

Courtney

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.

 

 

Want to get the latest from Courtney?

Sign up here and receive a digital copy of The Flourish Formula... Which when it was released earned Amazon best-seller status in Meditation, Time-Management and Life Skills!!

From Squished to Spacious — How to Create a Schedule You Love

From Squished to Spacious — How to Create a Schedule You Love

This month I’m sharing a new blog series From Squished to Spacious — How to Create a Schedule You Love. Last week I talked about putting fun things on your calendar. (If you only have work or official stuff and dentist appointments in there, no wonder it feels uninspiring.) Today I want to talk about Tip Number Two: Schedule open-ended time for rest, recovery and renewal aka “White Space” around demanding activities. This is the most important thing I do to help me feel responsive rather than reactive to my schedule. I like to have a calendar check-in on Sunday night. ** Monday morning is THE WORST time to map out your week because you already feel behind. ** So Sunday night with cozy socks and a glass of something warm or wine. Or mulled wine (hey it’s the season!) — open up your calendar and look at what is in store. Hopefully you already have at least a couple of fun things in there. Next check the overall pacing. If you have some demanding activities like a big presentation at work or leading a volunteer project with many moving parts — can you schedule in some buffers? Sure you can skip this step. But if we skip it too often we get depleted and our body ends up sick and forcing the pause anyway. It feels so much better to anticipate the need for rest or quiet and create white space for it. For example, yesterday I hosted a two hour group coaching call and recorded a whole new set of mini-modules or training videos on meditation for my Flourish Formula coaching program. While I LOVE coaching and teaching it also requires a lot of energy (especially because I am an introvert.) So this morning after taking the kids to school I took it slow — first enjoying a long yoga video and then taking my time with breakfast prep, including warming some berries in the oven to mix with my breakfast bowl. When I did open up the laptop I started with the easiest and lightest work, sitting on my couch and savoring my yerba mate tea. Years ago I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the white space. I would have screwed my tush to the chair at 8AM and already felt behind — slogging through tasks in a fog (and thus not that effectively). Or worse I would have taken the time off but felt guilty about it. So go extra gentle here. You likely have years of habitspushing you forward faster. Scheduling and taking intentional white space may feel a bit uncomfortable at first. But it is a key ingredient to creating a schedule that fits you and feels really good to be in. Also it gives you a chance to make sure you are really attending to your most important priorities. More on that next week! For now add the white space and let me know how it goes… Warmly, Courtney PS If you would like a serious dose of white space, rest and renewal I want to invite you to Flourish Live in Costa Rica in January — a boutique retreat for members of my Flourish Formula Coaching Program. Book a call via the link above to chat more or reply to this email with any questions. I am so excited to travel to this special venue and would love for you to join.  xo

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.

 

 

Want to get the latest from Courtney?

Sign up here and receive a digital copy of The Flourish Formula... Which when it was released earned Amazon best-seller status in Meditation, Time-Management and Life Skills!!