Enneagram Medicine

Enneagram Medicine

My Enneagram Story

For years I’ve been in love with the Enneagram (12+ years in fact.) And so many times I was the one bringing this personality map up in conversation. And now I sense that the Enneagram is exploding 💥and expanding into more of the personal growth world which is making me SO HAPPY. And far from making me sick of talking about the Enneagram it makes me want to talk about it MORE without apology.

{I think I used to fear being an Ennea-nerd. Or people losing interest because it is complex. I am releasing those worries. Seriously No more.}

So I am going to be talking about the Enneagram more openly in my blog and on social media and share more (hopefully) useful little nuggets.

To get us started here is an excerpt from my book The Flourish Formula. If you want to learn more about how I coach folks using the Enneagram reach out to me at cp@courtneypinkerton.com. And you can also grab a copy of my book. Next we need to create an Enneagram emoji!  xo Courtney

“My Enneagram Story

Despite all these conversations, what I have never shared before writing this book is more of my own personal story vis-à-vis the Enneagram. What have I experienced that is so powerful and what do I hope for you?

I first learned about the Enneagram when a friend paid for me to attend a workshop with Dallas-based Enneagram Master Suzanne Stabile. This was an all-weekend affair in which Suzanne described each of the nine types is detail, one by one, as we slowly worked our way around the circle, or Enneagram diagram.

I had a hunch that I was a heart type. When she got to Type Three, which is also called the Performer, she started her description with these words: “Threes are the chameleons of the Enneagram.” Kaboom! I knew I had been found.

She went on to describe more Type Three attributes. Threes are often leaders and organizers, we prioritize and focus on our work and have a hard time slowing down to enjoy life. We are extremely goal-oriented but don’t hang around once the confetti drops on one of our goals, instead pressing ourselves forward onto the next one. The chameleon description points to the Three’s habit of shape-shifting or turning into the poster child of any group to which we belong, however temporarily.

We are very good at sensing the mood of the collective and becoming what you want us to be.

If this sounds familiar, Three may be your type. Many of my high-achieving clients also lead with Type Three. But it may not be. Hold that idea lightly while we continue to explore the Enneagram together. The U.S. is actually thought by many Enneagram teachers to be a Type Three country due to our emphasis on success and looking good.

Dallas, my hometown, is also understood to be a Three town: all sparkle, little heart (or better put, a disconnection with one’s own heart). If you are resonating with this Type Three description, it could just be a by-product or an overlay of the dominant culture.

Back at the weekend workshop, when Suzanne finished her description, she asked if anyone in the room thought they might be a Three. As I decided whether or not to raise my hand, I sat there excruciatingly aware of one painful detail. She had explained that Threes are often overdressed.

(Looking good is very important for this personality type.)

I looked down at my faux fur coat and the funky brooch that I had gotten as a gift for performing a wedding (it actually lit up and twinkled!) and thought, “This was probably a tiny bit too much for a Saturday afternoon at the learning center.”

I recognized that part of me that loved making an entrance.

Honestly, it was pretty uncomfortable to raise my hand (I was the only one) and claim that type. I felt really exposed. Not everyone feels this way, but Threes are in the shame/sadness triad (more on that in a minute), which likely helps explain my response. So please be kind to yourself if this process of identifying your type makes you feel vulnerable. On the other hand, you may feel super excited or curious or just neutral about discovering your type.

This is what the Enneagram has really helped to deliver me from: not just the ways I can shape-shift or morph to be what others want me to be, but also the way I can be a chameleon to myself.

Not even letting myself know what I truly want. Going for the big credential over the tender nudge and doing what people want me to do, rather than risking my own truth.
In fact, for most of my twenties, I lived my life on two tracks: the real life and the resume life. For example….”

Grab the book to read the full story. I also share a free digital copy of the book at www.courtneypinkerton.com/freebook if you would like a taste before you buy. 50% of the proceeds of the print book go to support an amazing mentorship program for girls in Nicaragua.

#flourishtogether

xo Courtney
PS Do you know your Enneagram type? How did you learn it? I’d love to hear more of your story…. Leave it in a comment below.

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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!!

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.

 

 

How To Create Your Giving Portfolio

How To Create Your Giving Portfolio

Happy Friday! This week I want to share a favorite tool for the holidays: Creating Your Giving Portfolio.

Many of us like to be generous this time of year as we feel the gratitude for all that we have been given.

And it is a wonderful time to pause and reflect on where we contribute financially and with our energy or skills as a volunteer, and to freshen it up!

Read on for a guide to help you discern where you feel invited to donate or volunteer to nurture goodness and healing in our world.

I love this practice and it brings me joy to check in on the places where we have donated this year and to discern new priorities with my children. This year I am inspired by Tree Sisters and Training + Mentorship for Nicaraguan Women Entrepreneurs.

I hope you enjoy this giving portfolio guide and would love for you to share your favorite inspiring causes or organizations below and please share the guide with a friend! Warmly, Courtney

What is A Giving Portfolio?

In the same way that we can (and should) create a portfolio to diversity our investments.

The Giving Portfolio lets us contribute in a whole range of ways to the causes which move us and in support of the changes we desire in our world.

You can approach creating your giving portfolio systematically – like deciding to allocate percentages to certain causes. (For example giving half to issues which are “global” and half to “local” needs.)

Or you can just let it unfold organically.

We tend to do a bit of both in our family – trying to balance between human and green/planet causes as well as local and global issues.

Plus we want to leave room for inspiration or to give just because it feels right.

Here is an example of our current Giving Portfolio. Normally we support three or four at a time, sometimes more.

350.org — a global, green-energy movement to respond to climate change.

NPR  — so grateful for this news source.

Oxfam — we started giving to Oxfam when we were newly married and first returned from the Peace Corps. For us, this donation is a lifeline and a foundation of our family culture. No matter what season of our life and how much or little money we felt we had to spare (in grad school for example, or when our children were small and we dropped to one income for a season) we knew we wanted to be consistent with this one. Oxfam works to end the root causes of poverty. If you are looking for somewhere to give money to aid in the Mexico earthquake relief (or any natural disaster) they are a beautiful option because they are equipped both for immediate relief efforts and the long term support needed for the rebuild.

Tree Sisters is something I have newly learned about and I love the inspiring video (worth a watch!) and approach to greening the world and responding to climate change by nurturing tropical forests. 

and Training + Mentorship for Nicaraguan Women Entrepreneurs is led by a colleague and leader from Nicaragua who sees that empowering women entrepreneurs is the best way to help Nicaraguans navigate this time of political and economic crisis.

You can create a giving portfolio as a family or as part of a book club or other committed small group.

(You can read more about this and the origin of the giving portfolio practice in my life here.)

Now in some moments or seasons of life we don’t need to give more. In fact It is also super important especially for women to remember that giving is only part of relating consciously to money.

First actually comes the earning, then the saving/investing, then the giving. Which doesn’t mean that you can’t give before you have earned and saved a ton – far from it! But it does mean that if we are comfortable in our relationship to the first two aspects of money we will actually be equipped to give more. And from a place of giving well first to ourselves. 

Setting these contributions up as regular donations makes me feel like I am consciously putting my money and life energy toward causes I hold most dear. I feel like these donations are out working for me on the days where all I can hold my arms around is my own health, biz and family. This brings comfort and joy.

Now over to you.

What is in your Giving Portfolio?

Is your Giving and/or Volunteering wanting to grow or shift toward new passions?

Can you let yourself also choose to rest as part of a broader cycle of renewal or do you always feel like you “should” be doing more?

Leave me a comment below.

I’d love to hear! 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.

 

 

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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!!

Freshen it Up

Freshen it Up

I first shared this post during our year living in Nicaragua. While I’m not decorating a palm tree this year, when I reread this post so much remains true. Our holidays are part of a living, dynamic family culture. They hold space for us to feel our full feelings and to slow down enough to access the deeper registers of life. Read on for questions and tips which help your holiday practices feel fresh and alive and nourishing to YOU this season. Love and all the good, Courtney 

True celebrations need room to breathe. And one of the most challenging aspects of preserving your own growth through the holidays is to find room for what you desire amidst the pressure of family expectations and traditions.

If you feel stuck in a rut with how you or your family honors the holidays – first pause and ask:

What would actually be the most meaningful for you?

Just like birthday celebrations, this can change year to year.

Maybe this season you want more nights at home with a good book or writing by the fire and less out at holiday parties.

Maybe you want a real tree with just white lights and a handful of favorite ornaments rather than hauling out seven boxes from the attic.

Or maybe you want to decorate a palm tree with pink, turquoise and silver baubles and three kinds of lights (including the blinky ones). Or is that just me?

Sometimes what we crave is simplicity and space. But other times we actually want to put in more effort because it feels meaningful for us at this time. (Like challenging yourself to make a whole holiday meal out of purely local ingredients.)

Freshening up traditions is about finding the sweet spot of expressing your own spiritual and deeper values in a way which feels authentic to you now.

I’ve been amazed to notice how what I want for the holidays is different this year than in years past and informed by the “more is more” aesthetic of the tropics — which honestly starts with the over the top abundance of the natural world here, like the wild bougainvillea which hangs over my pool.

Also I’ve been trying to listen well to my children to observe which of the traditions that we had this time of year in the US still feel good to us here (hot chocolate surprisingly, makes the list, even in this heat) and which we are ready or willing to let go of… like cozy nights in front of the fire. And then there are some traditions which we are having to lovingly reinterpret. As I wrote about this week over on social media: “I can’t even tell u how much I love this tree. The funny thing is that the first tree we tried from our patio was a total fail. It was a sort of tropical cypress and though Christmas-tree “ish” it just didn’t work.

It was like worse than a Charlie Brown tree.

I went on a walk with my sweet husband after we decorated it and talked _the whole walk_ about how it wasn’t right and what were we going to do and were we asking our kids to bend and stretch too much? Was the lack of anything close to a regular Christmas going to put them over the top? I was really worried about it. I know it’s a little thing but for some reason this year when I asked them to sell all their belongings and move to a tiny house in another country I worried this was when the wheels would come off.

The next day while they were at school I un decorated the tree (a first!) and we decided to go for the palm instead. Rosita who helps us at home came by and I told her the problem and we totally got into redecorating this one in a race to get it all festive before the kids came home.

They walked in and we both held our breath. And the kids declared it Beautiful! And way better than before.
What a lesson that sometimes you can’t go back. And if u try too hard to replicate something it ends up weird or forced. Better instead to be where you are and find the beauty. I love it when life and my children conspire to teach me the big lessons…”

Now what to do if you feel obligated to holiday traditions with your extended family that are no longer so fun? I definitely encourage you to move very slowly here and with low expectations of being able to overhaul the whole thing. Family traditions have their own gravitational center.

But see if you could shake up just your part — maybe bringing a new favorite recipe, or suggesting a new outing which you’d actually enjoy for when family is visiting you. These simple things can help you feel more like you, more comfortable in your own skin. And they may even make it easier for others to express new preferences as well.

Another tip is to make sure that you are celebrating the holiday intentionally yourself or with your partner or smaller family either before or after the big group events. Again going filled up rather than needing to be filled can be a game changer and tending consciously to your own celebrations big and small is one of the best forms of soul food I know of.

One of my favorite metaphors for freshening up a family holiday is to think of what happens when you host a garage sale:

What are the extra things you are ready to get rid of – to convert that into currency for new experiences?

And what are the treasures you forgot you had?

So now over to you…

How are you planning to freshen up your holidays this year?

What are you ready to let go of? What treasures did you forget you had? I’d love to hear and hope you will share your experiences in a comment below.

Warmly, Courtney

Originally Published Dec 1 2017

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.

 

 

Don’t Go Hungry

Don’t Go Hungry

Family Photo

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 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.

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.

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. 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 their connection to you.

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 gone dormant long ago.

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.

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

Originally Published November 2017

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.

 

 

How to Pack And Prepare for a Solo Retreat

How to Pack And Prepare for a Solo Retreat

Last month I went on a retreat with one of my best friends in West Texas. It was amazing. We talked and we also didn’t talk. She brought me treats from the farmer’s market, including tomatoes that reminded me of my granny’s garden and the best melon I’ve had in years.

She also sat and listened as I shared thoughts, fears and tears related to some unexpected medical challenges our family is facing this year.

And I had the amazing privilege of reading the first chapter of her new book and hearing about her creative process.

We went out at night to the dock and looked at the moon.

We drank vino verde.

And talked about our kids growing up and life’s other capital M mysteries.

In other words. Heaven.

My husband who has years of experience in the catering realm and often intimidates other people in the kitchen — says that being a good cook is actually much simpler than most people think. In fact it is really about two things: Knowing what you want to eat…. And knowing how to make it. That’s it! A super easy definition of success. No fancy kitchen gadgets required.

I think designing your own deeply restorative retreat is the same thing.

It is about first tuning into what your soul is hungry for. And then knowing how to design and gift yourself that experience.

I made a free and lovely how-to guide to help you. Maybe it is a throw-back to my years in Boston when everyone seemed to head to shore come August, but I think it is a beautiful time of year to sneak away and gift yourself a big exhale.

Click here for the guide. I even tell you how to create a retreat in your very own home!

Love and all the good, 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.

 

 

1000 things I’ve been meaning to tell you

1000 things I’ve been meaning to tell you

Hello beautiful! I have missed you and this regular blog space. But every so often I need to go quiet. I need to stop doing ALL the things. Even the things I love, like writing. It’s almost like I have to test my own hypothesis. Slow down and accomplish more? Try stop completely and see what happens. Of course, I still attend to the things that are uniquely mine to do. Care for my body, enjoy my children and husband and show up and be present for my coaching clients. But beyond that, I need to be reminded of what it feels like to simply breathe in and out. To lay down my agenda and let life find me and lift me up. Here are some adventures I have had lately and some fun updates + resources I want to share!

The Enneagram App. Watch out world, the Enneagram is going virtual. Do you know that for the first time ever the Enneagram surpassed Myers Briggs in google searches this Spring? Join me in a happy dance as the transformation and compassion generated by this personality map ripple ever outward. Also, I’ve been approached by the developers of a new app, called True Self, and we are exploring some exciting collaborations. They have had over 200,000 people take their free Enneagram test. I’m often asked about the best online Ennea resource and the truth is there hasn’t been much available in terms of a free, quality online “quiz.” I am excited by this new option (they use images rather than just words) and would love for you to check it out and tell me what you think!

I’ve also been having fun travelling again. It took me a full year of NOT. GOING. ANYWHERE to recover from the whirlwind adventures of our year in Central America with three kids and two cats. But my wanderlust has finally awoken from its slumber and I’ve been getting out the suitcases for our family vacation to Charleston SC and visiting family back in Dallas. I also went on a mini-retreat out in West Texas with my friend Lynn, which was so restorative. Plan your own private solo retreat with my guide here. And I’d love to connect with you over on Instagram, where I share what is current in travel + life.

So what’s next? I have some fun things brewing so keep an eye on this space. Will I pick back up with weekly blog posts? Honestly, I’m not sure. One of my coaches told me this week that my only job is to show up, to ride the creative/spiritual inspiration current, to share and educate and to invite people into deeper experiences and opportunities. She also told me that all the good stuff in my business flows through relational connections, something I knew but it felt so good to hear her mirroring this back to me and encouraging me to allow myself to tweak every aspect of my biz to honor what comes naturally (and to delegate the rest to my virtual office manager). There is such freedom in knowing what you are great at AND what you suck at. The truth is that hyper-consistency is not my strong suit. Nurturing relationships and following inspiration, hell to the yes. So I’ve given myself permission to not feel like I have to write on an exact schedule and instead to craft this biz around my natural rhythms. Some months you may hear more from me and some less as I settle into this flow.

Trust me, many more thoughts to share but now over to you. I always love to hear how you are. Whether you are new in this space or you and I go way back, I hope you will leave me a comment below and tell me what you have been loving lately.

Love and all the good, Courtney PS What is in my flourish formula this summer?

Long conversations with friends

Our neighborhood Tuesday-afternoon farmer’s market

Taking over managing both our family and my biz finances and loving my regular “money dates” and the way it makes me feel so informed and resourced. Check out The Art of Money if you want more on this theme.

Vino Verde (a tiny bit effervescent and the most gorgeous tint of pale green. I was introduced to it in Costa Rica and now have found it at Trader Joe’s!)

Summer Reading! Barbara Kingsolver’s Unsheltered (not an easy breezy beach read but compelling and one of those books that has stuck with me.) Also need a dose of Magical Realism? I’m loving everything by Sarah Addison Allen (a native of Asheville, NC) especially Garden Spells. And of course I love to hear when you grab a copy of the Flourish Formula or share it with another busy woman in your life who is looking for a way forward and some room to breathe in her calendar and her life.

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.

 

 

I Stopped…. And This Keeps Happening

I Stopped…. And This Keeps Happening

 

Happy Friday!

It is making me so happy to be back. Writing a regular blog post/love note to this community is one of my favorite parts of my work. It feels almost like a spiritual practice: an opportunity to pause and reflect, and to share what is current in my life and to connect.

And yet, as I talk about in The Flourish Formula, sometimes what used to work for us stops working when we are in a growth spurt.

After 7+ years of almost weekly blog posts I came to a time this spring where the old pattern just wasn’t a fit.

I needed a breather.

I needed to allow myself to stop and to trust.

I needed to release my previous writing routine and instead focus on what was right in front of me, including teaching the Flourish Formula for Families live program, taking care of current coaching clients and attending to my nest and my kiddos. My husband is also going through a growth spurt so things are moving and shifting in our marriage in new ways, which while wonderful also takes energy and care.

Here is what is interesting.

Even with me doing less life kept flowing with beauty and meaning and surprises. 

Instagram has not been devoid of inspiring quotes or travel pics or shots of budding trees just because I wasn’t posting.

And new clients and fun professional opportunities have opened for me during this time of quiet. I might even have been more primed to say yes to them because I gave myself some creative white space.

Like an opportunity to collaborate with a new Enneagram App (soooo excited to share more about that coming soon) and a radio interview which I just did this morning!

This topic is one of my main life koans or puzzles or practice areas:

How to build a sense of trust which allows me to be honest with myself about my need for rest: creatively, professionally, as a mama, all of it.

And learning how to create a soulful business which doesn’t only require me to push or hustle but also has structures, support and an inner scaffolding to hold me when I need to inhale.

Balancing the feminine with the masculine, the time to receive with the time to consciously create.

This can be hard to do in a culture that expects us to produce (and look good doing it) all the time.

But that is a faulty model.

If we hitch our self worth or inner value to what we produce each day (or worse yet what others think of it) than this life is going to be a bumpy ride.

I’ve got lots of fun new green tender shoots opening and exciting things to share in the coming weeks. I’ve really been learning so much.

And going forward I’m hoping to get into a new routine of sharing blog favorites and fresh reflections in an integrated way.

But for now I just wanted to say hello again and thank you for being a part of this slow down/ accomplish more movement.

We are part of a bigger zeitgeist.

More and more I see the value of slowing down trumpeted all around me! Like in this article in the New York Times a coaching client shared with me yesterday called “The Case for Doing Nothing.” The science is in. We are onto something.

{A side note is it just me or are lemons everywhere right now too? Who knows how these mysteries unfold from collective unconscious to my book cover?!}

Over to you:

Where are you on the cycle of working/creating and resting?

Is your rest tank filled and you feel ready to start something new?

Or are you feeling tired and in need of replenishment?

Reach out to me at cp@courtneypinkerton.com or share a reply below. I love to hear from you!

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.

 

 

Courage and Lurching

Courage and Lurching

Coleman on island

First published April 10 2013

Lurching forward like a toddler learning to walk—this is how I experience life transitions. It doesn’t feel graceful or balanced and I’m acutely aware of my vulnerability as I lean into each next step. I lurch my way through big things like having a baby or deciding where to plant our family after grad school as well as more quotidian things like offering a new service through Bird in Hand, contending with a neighborhood conflict, or managing my own fatigue in the face of a long to do list and a short night’s sleep.

This weekend I left our three little ones and Richie and headed to a gorgeous retreat center on Bainbridge Island off the coast of Seattle hosted by Courage and Renewal. I was deeply restored by the company of wise guides (including Parker Palmer, a favorite author and wisdom teacher) as well as thoughtful peers.

Parker and Courtney

We read poetry, we walked and talked in the woods, we ate ridiculously good food from the onsite garden (and everything was gluten free!) and we talked about the deep stuff of life: how to find the courage to rise up within ourselves and inhabit our own most beautiful and authentic life. Together we explored how to serve and to love in the multiple roles represented — as educators, ministers, social entrepreneurs, community organizers, foundation directors, writers and artists– and how to continually nourish ourselves as we stand in the “tragic gap” between the present moment and the world as we yearn for it to be.

I left the island with a full heart and a new metaphor from Mark Nepo to describe the art of facing change (which is really the art of living– given that change is a constant):

Salmon have much to teach us about the art of facing things. In swimming up waterfalls, these remarkable creatures seem to defy gravity. It is an amazing thing to behold. A closer look reveals a wisdom for all beings who want to thrive.

What the salmon somehow know is how to turn their underside—from center to tail – into the powerful current coming at them, which hits them squarely and the impact then launches them out and further up the waterfall; to which their reaction is, again, to turn their underside back into the powerful current that, of course, again hits them squarely; and this successive impact launches them further out and up the waterfall. Their leaning into what they face bounces them further and further along their unlikely journey. (From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have (2000))

Now my people are not fish people. I was reared in a city which rises like cotton stalks from blackland prairie– the historic land of the longhorns– and a climate often dry and hot. Maybe that is why this description struck me with its freshness.

Honestly it is a bit of a revelation to even claim some of my choices as courageous. I tend to look at myself through a pretty critical pair of glasses (which has to do with my enneagram/personality type but critical self-gazing is a practice many of us share regardless of personality type). When wearing these specs I see myself take a step in a new direction and I’m too busy wishing it had looked like a ballet leap to commend myself for the lurch.

But upon further examination I can see the courage flowing under the surface in such moments. Below the static of anxious thoughts in my head, a squeeze in my heart or tightness in the gut—which seems to be how my body holds the tension of change—I do sense a deeper energy propelling me forward when I honor my core desires and soul truth about the work and life which is called out of me.

I’m no ichthyologist but I imagine it wouldn’t really work if the salmon faced the current with their scaly back– the part of their anatomy more suited to deal with the harshness of a wider world. Somehow it’s the collision between the power inherent in the stream and tender fish belly which propels them onward.

So too in my life I observe this paradox: when I am willing to be vulnerable to the beauty and suffering embedded in the moments of my days and to do the work of positioning myself well a midst these tensions I experience a holy encounter with the unfiltered power of life. This feels simultaneously like a smack to the core and a leap toward home. And then I regain my senses, hone in again on the direction I am called, and position myself for another blow.

Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

If not fun exactly this salmon metaphor strikes me as true. And while it can be hard to see the courage within our own lives I definitely see courage flowing through the lives of the people I work with. I see it in the carefully crafted family vows of a couple willing to risk love again in a second marriage and claiming a space to honor and include their children in the wedding service. I see it as coaching clients name a dream for a new career which more fully matches their deeper self and take steps in that direction. I see courage in parents who are striving to cultivate their children’s sense of mystery and wonder and reaching for an honest answer to their kids’ profound questions even as they themselves don’t have it all figured out. As Nepo explains: “In order not to be swept away by what the days bring, we, too, must find a way to lean into the forces that hit us so squarely. The salmon offer us a way to face truth without shutting down. They show us how leaning into our experiences, though we don’t like the hit, moves us on.”

Now its not all lounging around and waiting for life to smack you. Salmon tap into a deep inner wisdom and as I understand it work pretty hard to swim the wrong way up the stream to their hatching waters. But when the going gets really rough, when the ascent is impossible to the naked eye, that’s when they rely on the energy of the current rather than their own volition.

What experiences are you leaning into in the stream of your life?

Are you able to identify and align yourself with this deeper energy of courage?

Warmly,

Courtney

PS. We aren’t meant to do this kind of inner work alone! If you are looking for some resources and support on the journey I invite you to read more about my coaching support 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 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.

What She Said

What She Said

Usually I encourage clients NOT to listen to other people’s opinions… especially about the changes they are wanting in their lives. But there is one situation where I find it really helpful to listen to others, and that is when you are deciding if a learning or transformational experience is a good fit. 

Which is why I’m super grateful when clients tell me about the coaching journey in THEIR words because they are always better at explaining it than I am.

So if you have been considering the Flourish Formula for Families program I wanted to share some feedback from previous clients to help you make a good decision for you:

JUST WHAT I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR.

“I’m quite new to Enneagram, but feel like it’s what I’ve been looking for all my life. It’s hitting the spot for me as a woman and a mother in a way that other personality typing systems never quite did. Thanks for showing up in the world and lighting the path in the way that you have. I have been stuck for too long but this year I’m going to live my truth in a visible way. I’m terrified but it’s past due.”
  
— Char Lekx, Host of the Village Mama Podcast

COURTNEY NATURALLY WEAVES POWERFUL WISDOM TOOLS INTO YOUR REAL-WORLD RELATIONSHIPS AND PARENTING STRUGGLES.

“Courtney has deep knowledge, yet teaches in a way which feels easy and accessible. She sees the big picture and helps you connect the dots between powerful wisdom tools and your everyday life. It doesn’t feel like she is sitting you down and teaching you the Enneagram or other tools in a tedious way but rather she naturally weaves the insight it offers into your real world relationship and personal struggles.”

— DENISE NULL, PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA

If this sounds like what you have been looking for I hope you will check out all the details and register here. The next call is on Tuesday, March 5th.

There are families of every stripe joining this program.

Some have children, some have fur-babies, some have grandchildren or are thinking about starting a family.

You may be single, co-parenting, or interested in learning more about how the Enneagram can help you in your marriage or partnership.

However YOU define family this course is full of resources to help you flourish.

In fact if you have any questions, just reply to this email and let me know. I hope to see you inside!

Warmly, Courtney 

PS. Don’t worry I have you covered, busy one. All the calls are recorded so even though we started last week, no need to run around with your hair on fire.🔥

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.

I wonder if this is also true for you?

I wonder if this is also true for you?

Where do you learn the life-lessons you most value? As you know I am ALL for labyrinth-walking in Costa Rica or other retreats. 

Yet when I look at the arc of my whole life and my clients’ experiences I see that so much growth happens right at home.

Relationships with beloveds: be they partners, pets, children, friends, or parents.

Our house or living space (including the beauty AND the clutter)

And the daily rhythms, calendars and to-do lists we create…

These are ALL potent teachers and ripe areas for inner inquiry and supported evolution. 

I wonder if this is also true for you?

When you look at your life do you see that some of your most powerful lessons (and intense challenges) have come from the people and places you love most? 

If so I think you might really enjoy my upcoming coaching program and community called The Flourish Formula for Families.

Especially if you are curious about The Enneagram and how it is showing up inside your intimate interactions with yourself and the people you love.

This online coaching program and community starts next Tuesday, Feb 19th. Everything is also recorded for you to enjoy at your convenience. This program is designed to help you:

FIND FREEDOM FROM BUSY SCHEDULES + EXTRA STUFF
Learn the keys to creating the white space you want in your schedule and how to shed excess in a sustainable way (so clutter doesn’t creep back in).

UNDERSTAND FAMILY PERSONALITIES USING THE ENNEAGRAM
How to heal conflicts (before they start) and honor each member of your family and their unique perspective and needs

OVERCOME GUILT
In this masterclass I’ll share the difference between productive and unproductive guilt and how to feel at peace in your choices.

DEFINE YOUR FAMILY CULTURE
The recipe to ease stress and flourish as a family plus tips on how to create family celebrations and traditions which blend old and new to fit you just right. 

If you have any questions or wonder if this coaching journey would be a good fit for you and yours please reply here and I’ll get back to you.

**A quick update: there are families of every stripe joining this program which I think is wonderful. Some have children, some have fur-babies, some have grandchildren or are thinking about starting a family. You may be single, co-parenting, or interested in learning more about how the Enneagram can help you in your marriage or partnership. However YOU define family this course is full of resources to help you flourish.

Also I am gifting as part of your enrollment the option of a second person participating in the program for free. After you join you have the opportunity to invite your partner, mom, daughter, sister-in-law, or good friend aka “chosen family” to participate with you!
(Essentially two for the price of one!)

I am getting soo excited to teach this fresh content and host a community of smart, curious people who are looking to understand themselves better and enjoy their relationships more. I hope to see you inside the Flourish Formula for Families Community.

Warmly,

Courtney


PS Did you jump to the end? Here is what you need to know. The Flourish Formula for Families starts next week. If you want to resource yourself and your family by learning more about the Enneagram and coaching tools to reduce stress and enjoy more ease in the everyday, this is for you! Details + Registration HERE.


PPS Everything is recorded and if you can’t make it live you can even submit questions ahead of time. It is going to be fun. Reply here with any questions and I hope to see you inside! xo