Naked Bees 🐝 + Help Naming My New Challenge

Naked Bees 🐝 + Help Naming My New Challenge

Hi beautiful, How are you?

Last week I shared about a new free 5 Day Challenge I am creating to help women tend to their inner garden and liberate themselves from invasive weeds of self-doubt, imposter syndrome, perfectionism and more! Many of you answered my survey and I am moved by what you have shared. In fact I am reading each answer and musing on what to call this new Challenge.

If you haven’t yet completed the survey I would love to hear from you.

Also as promised I wanted to let you know the other prize for the raffle for those of you who complete the survey. I meditated on it this week and yesterday morning as I woke up it came to me: Naked Bee Shimmering Body lotion.

I bought myself this lotion last summer when we were on a day trip looking for something fun and outdoors to do with our kids. When tubing on the river was cancelled because of thunderstorms we stopped in the touristy mountain town to buy everyone ice-cream (good pivot!) and ducked into a nearby gift shop.

Perusing the multitude of t-shirts and knickknacks, I discovered the shelf filled with fancy personal care products and bought myself some shimmering body lotion. It made me happy and even feel a little feminine all summer long. I would take a moment to rub it on my neck or shoulders and breathe in the scent of orange blossoms and honey. This simple, quick practice was a welcome self-care boost above the minimum standard of brushing my teeth.

There is so much going on in our world – why focus on body lotion?

Because right now little pleasures are actually serious medicine.
 
They offer a doorway into self-kindness. And when many of us are finding ourselves eyeball to eyeball with challenging inner voices (in part because of the added stress and limitations of lockdown), little pleasures can interrupt the trance of our Enneagram patterning and bring us back into presence.

My weakness for botanically-infused toiletries aside, nature is a powerful mental health ally. Whether it is a walk outdoors, a favorite herbal tea or essential oil diffusing, Vitamin N helps us get back into our body and feel more resourced for the challenges at hand.

So as we transition into warmer weather, please consider this your permission slip/reminder to refresh your pleasure portfolio and to lean on nature as your ally in metabolizing stress.   

And if you would like a chance to win a prize of the lotion or a signed copy of my book, or you just want to help me out and share your thoughts, please complete the survey by clicking the link here. (It is only six questions.)

And I hope you have a wonderful weekend. We are celebrating Easter with an egg hunt and al fresco bunch with some of our co-housing neighbors. And I’m really looking forward to a getaway to a nearby National Park with old growth forest!

I’ll be offline all next week for Spring Break but will pick the raffle winner when I get back. (I’ll see if Rosetta will help me and we may do another quick video of the draw!).

And mark your calendars: this free challenge will start May 3rd and I have even more prizes and fun in store for us, in addition to fresh teaching and the best resources I know to help us root deep and flourish, even when life feels bumpy or intense.

xo Courtney

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.

 

Want to get the latest from Courtney?

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

 

Something New 🌿

Something New 🌿

We are just edging into spring here in Asheville and I’m so enjoying the sun. We don’t get it every day, which, of course, makes it all the more precious.

During the last couple of months I have been nurturing some new work: a free challenge and a new coaching program focusing deep on the garden of self-awareness. My biz coach calls it Flourish 2.0 because it is a fresh iteration of my whole coaching methodology.

What is changing?

When I wrote my book, I focused the chapters on the challenges of living life at a painful, rapid pace and offered tools that help high-achieving people slow down to accomplish more.

I am a human-to-resource matchmaker and I love sharing tools that we can use to disrupt the trance of habitual living and to open to more presence. So that won’t change.  

But what was previously a linear process comprised of eight steps that correspond to the word FLOURISH has now revealed itself to be circular and three dimensional.

In fact, it is a garden. 

A garden with sections that correspond to the seven critical parts of life that require dedicated attention and cultivation.

And at the center of this garden is a fountain that flows into and nourishes all these other parts of life. That is what we are going to talk about in this challenge and new program. And I would love your help to design it!

A lot of attention has been paid to the struggles of the year, and there have been many: pandemic, isolation, strain on relationships, grief and self-honesty regarding systems of racial oppression in the U.S. and around the world, and continued economic practices that take more from our earth than give to her. 

And yet, 2020 and the pandemic have been MASTERFUL at one really important thing: surfacing the old habits and patterns of self-talk that are draining. 

Because, hello, we need all the energy we can get. 

And in this time of increased stress, we can more easily see where we get in our own way. 

I used to call these inner voices “gremlins.” And perhaps you can relate to hosting erratic inner voices that turn on a dime. Voices that go from quiet or neutral to harshly judgmental or caustic, in the same way gremlins go from cuddly to eating your face. So, in that regard the name works.

However, I’m increasingly thinking of these inner voices as invasive weeds which hog all the nutrients and disrupt the natural equilibrium of our inner eco-system. (You know I love a botanical metaphor!) 

Many times these painful thoughts, like imposter syndrome or perfectionism, aren’t even ours. They are internalized voices from the overstory of culture.

And they are PERSISTENT.

When you encounter one of these voices, like your inner critic or doubter, they don’t give up easily.

Mostly we respond with one of three strategies:

1. We ignore them.

2. We yell at them.

3. Or we try to argue logically.

As you know none of these strategies works.

What to do instead? Well, that is going to be the topic of this new challenge. But I could use your help. Please complete this survey to help me better understand where these voices show up in your life.

And, for fun, there will be a raffle for everyone who completes the survey. The winner will have a choice of a signed copy of my book or another very fun prize I’ll tell you more about next week. (Giving your email is optional but I need it if you would like to be entered for the prize!)

The new challenge starts in early May and I’ll be pulling the raffle winner soon so I hope you will take a few minutes to complete it. (It has 6 questions.)

xo Courtney

📸 Photo credit to my husband Rich and daughter Rosetta for the above pic. We had a day of play last week in the gardens at the Biltmore Estate.

P.S. You will see in the survey that this program is directed to women however I just have to give a shout out to the amazing, conscious men who are part of this community and coaching clients. You are welcome to complete the survey too. Maybe one day we will have enough of a posse to create a group for men! 

 

Want to get the latest from Courtney?

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

 

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.

Let’s Do the New Year Differently. Plus, Upcoming Summit! ✨

Let’s Do the New Year Differently. Plus, Upcoming Summit! ✨

Even though February is nigh, let me wish you a Happy New Year!

Each January I tend to tweak or re-imagine my process for setting intentions, and this year I have learned a few powerful new options I wanted to share.

If you are still feeling oversaturated from 2020, or not in the mood to dream and plan, I’ve got you! These options are nourishing and varied, and may surprise you.

Option 1: Nothing New for Now

A coaching client shared this resource with me and I think it is brilliant. This mantra underscores how important it is to know and honor where we are in our own change cycle.

Just because there is “new year” or “planning/calendar” hype in January doesn’t mean it’s the right time for YOU to be dreaming.

If your plate feels very full, or you are still digesting all that 2020 brought, please don’t add pressure to map your future. There will be a right time for you to dream what is next. And, in fact, the fastest and most easeful way forward into future clarity may be to stop fighting the rest and integration time you need.  A nap can be your next best step. Or a salt bath. 

I have been healing from gum surgery this last week. Even though I’ve been on my own ‘overachiever recovery program’ for years, I still fight it when my health requires extended days of rest or healing. I usually give myself a set number, like the four days I slotted after gum surgery. Then, after that, I expect myself to “be back to normal.”

The body, as we know, has its own timeframe.

This week gave me an opportunity to really watch how I talk to myself when I’m physically vulnerable and to practice relaxing control.

While this isn’t easy and requires stepping over several Enneagram type voices inside, I am learning that the more compassionate I am to myself, the more present and nimble I am to changing circumstances. This approach allowed me to show up in small ways in my work and family when I could, which has been so meaningful for me, and to be generous with myself when I need to rest.

It all felt less pressurized.

I realize the old approach was dualistic and laced with pressure to show up either “full on” or “off.” I’ve been playing in shades of gray.

After days in bed/on the couch, I opened my journal to do some reflection and found that there was so much clarity ready to be harvested. Things I didn’t even realize I knew somehow got worked out under the surface during my down time. This was a delightful surprise and a reminder of *ironically* how efficient rest really is.

Option 2: Make a Gratitude Board for All That You Learned 

I love vision boards and the magic they bring so much so that I usually make one or more per year and keep them propped above my desk or on my bookshelf to remind me where I’m going. But, until now, I’ve always made them for the future.

2020 was such a unique journey. As part of a process of mapping the future I was invited by my coach to create a gratitude board to harvest the lessons of the past year. This process was deeply gratifying. I captured both big things, like the gratitude I feel for the poll worker featured at the top (I love that she looks like the patron saint for democracy) and the little but vital delights the year brought, like repainting our bookshelves, creating a seasonal home office on my porch, and time with our children. 

If you aren’t a vision board person you can turn to a fresh page in your notebook and write down what lessons you are grateful for learning this past year. The key is to settle yourself into the posture of a learner. Because if you are the learner, then you have the power to transmute the challenges you experienced into lessons that fuel your way forward and everything is compost for what wants to grow next.

I also like to put my hand on the vision board — or the lessons harvested in my journal — and do some deep breathing. I imagine that all that is old or stale from the past could just gently rinse off me, and that the lessons I name and honor are rooted deep in me for the future.

This practice really gets me in touch with my heart and is a wonderful release, which makes space for the new.

Option 3: Open a Dialogue with your Future Self

If you do want to do some visioning for the new year (or already have), consider making your intentions stronger by opening a dialogue with your future self. You can do this during meditation or in your journal.

Allow yourself to imaginatively inhabit the person you will be at the end of 2021 and feel into the gratitude you would feel when you experience the goals you are naming. 

This is also a great way to check your intentions: if you can’t imagine really embodying them, then maybe they aren’t your deepest or truest desires. Sometimes we get caught in “should” goals that come from our ego or our social selves. True soulful intentions feel delicious to imagine.

Going through this process of dialoguing with your future self, not just once but again and again, makes your intentions much more powerful. It infuses the words on a page with an emotional quality that you can feel in your body.  

I hope these ideas serve you now or the next time you are ready to release the old and dream new dreams for your life. 

One of my intentions for 2021 is to find fresh ways to connect to people and nurture this online Flourish community. I have been blogging regularly for many years and I love to write. But I also have an urge to connect more through interviews and online summits, and maybe even host my own summit one day.

So, I wanted to share with you that I’ll be featured in an upcoming summit with a session on Understanding Yourself (and Your Parenting) Through the Enneagram.

This summit is a free 4-day virtual event to help moms of kids with medical conditions go from being overloaded to feeling calm and in control. 

As a mamapreneur with three children ages 10-14, I believe parenting is one of the masterclasses of personal awareness work. But I am especially touched to be part of an event that is supporting moms of children with medical conditions because of the extra intensity and energetic demands these families face. Whether the medical condition is something visible to the world or mostly invisible, I know many moms are pouring their hearts into their child/ren’s thriving. (More challenging now because of the added isolation in a pandemic.) My sister Heather is a pediatric physical therapist and her work with families has long been an inspiration to me so I’m so proud to be a part of this event! 

If you know a mama with a child with a medical condition who could use some support and resources, I would love your help connecting. Please share this blog post with her. And if you are a parent and want to check out these great resources, you can read more and register right here.

 

Want to get the latest from Courtney?

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

 

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.

Lighting Candles As an Act of Activism 🕯️

Lighting Candles As an Act of Activism 🕯️

It all started with my mom. I can remember as a little kid waking up and finding her alone in the study in the early morning, candle lit, in prayer. “We light the candle so we can feel presence around us. God is always there,” she said, “but the candle helps focus our attention.”

As my sisters and I grew we adopted the practice. One day on my year abroad, strolling the streets of London equal parts exhilarated and lonesome, I picked up a tiny candle holder and tea light to help me feel more at home. I can’t go into a Mexican grocery store without loading up on Virgen de Guadalupe candles. After growing up in Texas and years living in Latin America, they just call my name!

Now candle-lighting is like a family shorthand. When we are going through something hard or one of our kids is struggling, we send a group text: “Please light your candles.” “On it!” we respond, matches striking in unison in homes across Dallas and now in Asheville too. Sometimes we even text photos of our candles burning to bring each other comfort.

What I love about lighting candles is that it makes me feel like the candle is DOING the work for me. As a recovering overachiever I can turn even spiritual practices into a task or a “to-do.” Lighting the candle, I feel part of something bigger. “We witness your life” the candles say. “And we remember, even if you forget, that you are loved and held in the Wholeness.”

This has been a year of, how shall we put it?

Growth opportunities.

And we are entering into what is sometimes called “the season of light” because of the confluence of religious and spiritual traditions that relate to lighting the way in the darkness: Winter Solstice, Advent, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali and more.

Our natural season (here in the Northern hemisphere at least) provides the backdrop, as we turn toward the winter hush and darkness. But these festivals of light draw from something deeper.

Lighting candles is an act of resistance. It means we see our shadow, we don’t ignore it, yet we choose to nurture the flicker of something luminous within us and to honor the radiant possibilities of our more loving nature.

2020 has been masterful at revealing our collective shadow: whether we are talking about systemic racism, or the way COVID moves through society hurting disproportionately our already vulnerable neighbors, or our practices of taking from the Earth more than we give her.

Earlier this week I opened my Flourish Holiday Playshop and had a bit of a Type 3 on the Enneagram freak out.

“What am I doing playing?” My inner gremlins sang out. “COVID is on the rise. What if people think I’m fluffy or weird? And did I really just put a picture of myself day-drinking in my sparkly holiday top and Target soft pants on the internet?” Maybe I should put this offering back in the vaults and we can all pretend it didn’t happen.

Then I went for walk. And I saw that the gorgeous grandmother tree in our neighborhood, one of those tremendous trees that just begs for a tree house or to get married underneath it, was being chopped down after the land had been sold to new owners. I cried as I passed by, literally feeling like I was passing a wake, her enormous body in pieces on the ground. And then as I walked and cried, I got mad. And I felt my hand tighten into my current somatic touchstone.

This is a practice I am learning working with a new coach. Your somatic touchstone can be any gesture which helps you feel connected to your body and your deepest truth. My somatic touchstone starts with my feet and spine rooted and strong, my heart open, and then my right hand goes up, like in the “resist” symbol of the protestor. And I feel my activist heart beating. My desire to do my part in contributing toward the needed changes and healing in our world.

So, lets plant some trees together. (I am planting a tree with Treesisters for every participant in the Playshop.) And let’s light some freaking candles. Let’s remember and nurture the love. Whatever and however it takes. Not as self-care alone but as activism. When we light up our hearts, we know what to do next. Whether that is giving money to a cause that inspires us, leaning into our creativity, nurturing a friendship or pouring attention in to our child or our body in need of care. We will know what is ours to do in the moment. And can also feel relaxed in the whole.

The Holiday Playshop is a container for a conversation more than it is a workshop. So I’ve decided to limit the participation in each Playshop to a small group size ripe for transformational explorations. (If you are like me and prefer teachers and guides who ground their woo, I studied small groups as a tool for social and spiritual transformation as my Master’s thesis.)

I also know that our lives and plates are full. So I’ll give a small teaching to spark our time together (something I’ll record for the members of the other Playshop to listen to at their leisure) and then we will open together into time to engage the frameworks and guiding questions in the written guide. I’ll help you navigate COVID challenges with extended family and other changes, discern what you are hungry for this holiday season and design a worthy experience for yourself. Together we will explore how your traditions can support you as well as what new ones you might like to create.

I’m especially drawn to working with people who feel a little adrift or have recently blended families or just want some time and space and help animating the holidays so they can feel relaxed and enjoy it. As I say in the video describing the Playshop, I see the holiday season as a holon or microcosm of a whole life. Whether you and I go way back or we recently connected, I’d love to have you! We can lean into our holiday traditions to help us restore after a year that has left many of us drained.

What do you say, are you in? I’m offering pay from the heart pricing which starts at $67 and includes a curated Holiday Playshop library of additional digital resources which help you flourish this holiday season and beyond, all in little “bites.”

I think it’s going to be awesome. Please join me and wear your cozy socks and your Granny’s Christmas brooch or anything else that helps you step into your holiday season with playfulness and conscious intent. Let’s grow the love, one home at a time.

Warmly, Courtney

PS Once you register, I’ll reach out to ask you which Playshop you plan to attend so I can keep an eye on numbers. I’m hosting one this Thursday evening the 19th and the second on Saturday the 21st. The bulk of both Playshops will be the same but they will each include a mini teaching to help with a particular holiday challenge. Read all the details here.

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.

 

Want to get the latest from Courtney?

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

 

Happy News! Flourish Holiday Playshop ✨Now Open

Happy News! Flourish Holiday Playshop ✨Now Open

I am so happy to share that doors are open to my Flourish Holiday Playshop, which I will be offering at two times next week. Registration gets you access to both playshops! Which will also be recorded.

You can read all the details, including pay from the heart pricing, and register here.

I would love to see you in the Playshop!

Courtney
PS Once you register you gain immediate access to a Flourish Holiday Playshop library. So you can start getting in the mood for a beautiful, nourishing holiday season. Ready for some good cheer? Check out the deets + join me.

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.

 

Want to get the latest from Courtney?

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

 

My Inner Witch is Coming Out of the Closet

My Inner Witch is Coming Out of the Closet

Hi beautiful.

I found my right place on the planet when we bought our house earlier this year. (At least right for right now!) One reason, among many, is that I’ve landed in a neighborhood famous for its Halloween festivities. I can’t tell someone in Asheville where I live without them saying how great it is around here on Halloween. I’m thinking we must attract a bunch of theater folk and other creatives because MAN do the neighbors go all out with the costumes and spooky staging.

I’ve found such joy the last couple of years wandering the streets with my children, sipping local chai cider and reveling in the witchy fullness of the night.

This year, of course, trick or treating is cancelled so Rosetta and I have been getting creative about alternatives. I’m organizing an event at our cohousing community—an adult costume party with the kids as judges—and there will be story telling in the woods and a bonfire and maybe a dance party under the full moon. Last night I tried on my costume. I’m going to be a Monarch in a queenly purple robe under a crown of butterflies. 🦋 I’m wearing my wedding dress beneath the robe because it is the most fabulous floor-length garment in my possession. This seems like a good year to dig deep in the closet, all in the service of the fun and festive.

Last week I asked for help designing my first Flourish Holiday Playshop. Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences. There’s still time to complete the quick survey. If you do it by midnight on Halloween, I’ll enter you in a raffle and the winner gets to choose from a signed copy of my book, a free hour of coaching for themself or to gift, or a beeswax candle.

Honestly, the Playshop surprised me. It emerged recently in a mastermind session with my new business coach. She is all about tuning in deeply to the soul and using our businesses as vehicles to create a more just and mutually sustaining economy. In this group call, she asked me how I would like to feel in January and what work would bring me deep satisfaction. I felt a surge of energy as I told her about this playshop idea which had been bubbling under the surface and said, “I feel like my inner witch wants to come out of the closet!”

I love ritual—and I studied it at Harvard Divinity School. It is a powerful tool in the journey of flourishing, and something I use myself and with clients. Even so I feel like I haven’t owned my ritual love fully in my teaching and online offerings perhaps because talking about traditions, inherited religion and chosen spirituality in this postmodern context quickly gets us into deep and complex waters.

Well, this year I am not afraid to go there. In fact, I think we could use some intentional care around our seasonal celebrations so they can nourish us. Turning on the news can provide enough fodder to break your heart in nine separate ways. As we round out 2020, we need practices that FILL and FUEL our hearts.

Seasonal holidays are one of the easiest and most natural spaces for me to play and to feel part of a larger story. (If you want to read more of what I mean by the “Holidays” and my personal story and perspective, you can read about that here.) Whatever your inherited or chosen traditions, playing and feeling part of a larger story is powerful medicine in a moment when we are riding wild waves of change. Rituals and celebrations provide a container to hold the fullness of emotions we feel as we move through life. They give us context. They provide roots and wings, stories and brackets, that help us make sense of and weave meaning out of the pain and joy of life.

They remind us of what we know deep in our bones. That this moment is precious and fleeting. That this is our time to stand tall in the forest and feel the pleasure of shaking off dead leaves in the autumn light. One day in the future, we will all be logs but, for now, we live. Well-crafted rituals and celebrations show us how to live more fully from that awareness, even as we turn our attention back to daily life. They gift us the “time out of time” spaciousness we all crave.

I hope you find fun ways to celebrate this Halloween season, a cultural moment with many textures and layers and deep spiritual practices around honoring and communing with the luminaries and ancestors who have gone before us.

I’ve gathered some seasonal treats for you below from prior writing and social media posts, including my visit to a Nicaraguan cemetery celebration on Day of the Dead or Dia de los Difuntos. 

And please do take a moment to share your thoughts with me in this simple survey. I’m using this information to design the most supportive and resource-filled Playshop I can for you.

With hopes for lots of full moon magic for you and yours this weekend. 🌕

Love, Courtney

Fall Treats from Courtney 🍂 ☕

I hope these images and reflections nourish you like a pumpkin-spiced latte.  Enjoy! 

Adventures in a Nicaraguan Graveyard here and a quick video with music here

Slaying your own Dragons – Halloween reflection for parents + pics of our first Halloween in Asheville with new friends.

The Blog Post You Don’t Get to Read on seasons and self-compassion and my favorite pic of a tiny pumpkin spiral labyrinth!

Getting Into the Season from deeeeep in the archives and includes a sweet pic + instructions on how to create your own ancestor mobile. 

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.

 

Want to get the latest from Courtney?

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

 

Help Me Design My New Flourish Holiday Playshop + Gift Raffle ✨

Help Me Design My New Flourish Holiday Playshop + Gift Raffle ✨

This year the holidays are going to be different for most of us.

You may not be able to travel or gather like you normally would.

You may be talking with your extended family around how best to navigate COVID risks.

Should you meet outside? Wear masks? Stay home and gather for (another) Zoom conversation? Mail gifts? How can you do this whole thing …. differently?

Religious and cultural holidays, like anniversaries, have their own kind of power and magic. They are one of the thin places, where mystery can find us amidst the pressing fullness of daily life.

This year all kinds of traditions are going to be wonky and reimagined.

Yet we NEED our spaces of comfort, joy, and light more than ever before.

So I want to create a special offering: A Flourish Holiday Playshop, and host it in November before Thanksgiving in the U.S.

It is a playshop instead of workshop because we all need some fun. But I’ll also be bringing the most powerful resources I have to support you. I’m really looking forward to it!

To help me design this playshop I have created a SHORT surveyIt takes about 3 minutes. And just for fun, I’ll host a raffle for those who complete it. (I haven’t totally figured out the prize yet, but I love presents. I will probably let the winner choose from a signed copy of my book, a free hour of coaching to use themselves or to gift, or a yummy candle.) I hope you will complete it, I would love to hear from you.

Warmly, Courtney

PS. Let’s say a little something about the “holidays.” I love postmodern spirituality and could nerd out a WHOLE lot about this topic and probably will. What I mean by the holidays is roughly late November/US Thanksgiving through the new year. Depending on your culture and traditions, this time includes Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hannakah, Kwanzaa, and other holidays – or none at all. Since we are talking about this, here is my short hand for religion – it is a whole lot less about what you BELIEVE i.e. head assent, and a whole lot closer to the question “What do you BELOVE?” And I also don’t think we have to mash all the gorgeous global religions together and say “it is all the same.” What to do instead? Friendship. Be friends with people and in relationship with people (including yourself) who belove different things. And listen to them while also allowing yourself to water deeply your own spiritual mother tongue or preferred chosen spiritual path. Increasingly people are fed by more than one tradition or are holding different traditions in the same family. As for me, I call myself a “Buddheo-Christian.” I grew up Methodist and have been meditating since I learned how at the Homeopathic hospital in London during my year abroad. I weave both of these loves together in ways that delight me (think garden Buddha and Day of the Dead altar with all my favorite mystics). I love the desert mothers and fathers of the Christian tradition (who may have had a hand in creating the Enneagram) and the liturgical year, with all its myriad feasts and fasts. And I love my husband who is trained in ecology and whose patron saint could probably best be described as Jane Goodall. But beyond all these elements of my story is this: I LOVE holding space for people to examine what they belove and I am super comfortable with all the traditions or none at all (hey, that is why I went to Harvard Div school and studied alongside such a diverse crew. We laughingly said the only thing we could all agree on is sitting in silence 😊). It brings me a lot of joy to venture into these waters with you. And if you think some reflection on YOUR holiday season, whatever that means to you, could potentially be helpful or fun, I hope you will fill out the survey and tell me more. xo Courtney

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.

 

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The Chickens Are Out. And I Don’t Have Pant’s On 🐔

The Chickens Are Out. And I Don’t Have Pant’s On 🐔

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 – Click 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 cp@courtneypinkerton.com 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.

🍋 🌿 Courtney

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. 😉

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.

Play, Not Perfection

Play, Not Perfection

I wrote a little something recently about a mindset shift that is really serving me — the idea of “play, not perfection” — and I wanted to share it here with you.

We are all going through so much change and evolution, individually and at a social and even global level. I know I can feel overwhelmed or overstimulated with all the change.

Yet here in Asheville summer is at its glorious peak. There is a zucchini on my kitchen table larger than I thought possible to grow. And I’m writing you this newsletter from a new standing desk in the porch/home office I am creating this summer, so I can better hide from my children, write and remember my own self and soul.

With all the sunshine and green life around me it is a good time to play. And DEFINITELY a good time to speak firmly to that inner perfectionist who can get in my way. Read on for more, including a sneak peak at a new self-paced version of my Flourish Formula for Families program including pay from the heart pricing. Warmly, Courtney

Play, not perfection.

This summer I’ve been having fun with a book called The New Bohemians Handbook by designer Justina Blakeney. It has given me permission to LEAN IN to my love of global textiles and plants 🌿 and I created this sweet corner in my bedroom.

I have ALWAYS loved a good rocking chair and got this vintage beauty from a mid-century resale shop here in Asheville. (Apparently it was hand woven in Eastern Europe and brought over. So cool! I wish I knew its full story and all the families who have enjoyed it.) I also finally pressed and hung this tapestry from my travels to San Miguel de Allende a few years back. (I love that it is full of bunnies 🐇 and chickens 🐔 which pretty much mirrors our life here in cohousing — pics soon of our brand new coop!)
 
I keep my journals and books I’m reading in the magazine rack and so enjoy taking a quiet moment in the evening to reflect on gratitudes or in the morning to capture dreams that have come through. 🌙
 
There are, of course, other inner voices that come up that tell me I need to know more about color or have more training to REALLY design my home. And who tell me there are probably fancier lights or apps I should be using to capture and share this moment.
 
And then I remember that it is about play, not perfection. About creating a home that fits. A space and a nest that support me. It is about moving things around and discovering what I enjoy. And, yes, allowing in pleasure and beauty.
 
Nesting has been good medicine for me this summer. It isn’t a turning away from the work at hand – I stand so grateful and in support of our front-line medical workers and teachers and the community organizers working to bring racial justice and structural changes.
 
But choosing to live wholly requires honoring my limits. And trusting that I give my best contributions when I am well rested and nourished from within.

Do you have a home nest? Could it use a refresh? Some lighting or summer flowers or a new cushion? I think a home nest is one of the most powerful ways to anchor our bodies and souls to ride times of change. This is something I learned from a mentor of mine years ago and I have helped and encouraged many coaching clients to find their perfect cozy chair or to design a sacred, comforting corner. 

Self-care, rest and self-remembering are acts of resistance in a culture that compels us to always push our lives forward as if we have to prove something. 

If you would like more nest support I am opening up a brand new Self-Paced version of The Flourish Formula for Families program. It has been a labor of love to create this new format (big shout out to my husband who did the video editing) and a percentage of your fee goes to support The Loveland Foundation to provide mental health care for Black women and girls. I would love to support you and yours with the Enneagram, mind-body tools, easy inspiration and a whole library of resources you can return to as needed to help your family flourish this year and beyond.

Click here to learn more about the new self-paced program.

Love, Courtney

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.

 

Want to get the latest from Courtney?

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

 

Flourish Formula {Social Justice Edition} + How Art, Rest, and Community Fuel Change

Flourish Formula {Social Justice Edition} + How Art, Rest, and Community Fuel Change

These days I’ve got a good working relationship with my inner gremlins. They come and whisper to me and MOST of the time I move over, make some room, and invite them to a cup of tea or a salad with edible flowers.🌸 I give the gremlins my ear and attention in soft ways so that they don’t run wild, trampling on my inner garden.

I have been working with the Enneagram for over 14 years now, with amazing teachers and guides who show me the way. And one of the most beautiful fruits of this process has been a slow growing inner kindness. I recognize, more easily, when I have turned against myself and begun to believe those inner ego voices that are rooted in what I call the “push” “prove” or “gold star economy.”

😈  But sometimes they come up with a sneak attack. And they get me. 😈

On those days I don’t listen gently and then send the gremlins back to nap in the hammock while I move about my day. Instead I actually BELIEVE them, and let them influence how I feel about myself and my choices. And it hurts.

There is a particular kind of pain that comes when we turn against our authentic self. When we fall in line behind inner Enneagram type voices which are rooted in and reinforce the idea that we are somehow faulty, inadequate, or unlovable which of course sets us up to overcompensate and try REALLY, REALLY hard in all our doing.

To feel better or to prove something to someone, and to ourselves.

I write about this concept in my book The Flourish Formula (including how to identify your Enneagram type and painful gremlin thoughts). The book gives me a chance to share the specific awareness tools that help us tend to our inner lives in fresh and sustaining ways plus many more examples from my life and women I have supported. You can order your copy here. 

For today I want to share a bit more about a particularly tricky gremlin that showed up in my life over the past month. Here is what it said:

“Courtney, it isn’t OK for you to play, have fun, relax, dance whatever because the world is in terrible shape and you HAVE to DO something.”

That was my Type 3 or “Achiever/Organizer” personality gremlin that was blocking me from receiving or enjoying and from discerning what was my own AUTHENTIC way to contribute to social/racial change not from a place of overwhelm, guilt or over-responsibility but from a nourished place of inspired action.

It has a sister thought/gremlin “Social Change is WORK and it is a SLOG so you can’t have any fun doing it.”

Now this is my gremlin but I wonder if you can relate to it or anything similar?

I have seen so many examples in my life of burned out activists or cynical and jaded change makers.  

And I think it is an archetype or approach to change whose time is UP! Instead I think we need nourished, resourced women and men stepping into leadership and showing us how to live whole, integrated lives.

As I moved through my own process to unhook from and metabolize this gremlin I came to see more clearly the model of sustainable resistance provided by so many communities of color and their commitment to and appreciation for art, restoring relationships, and rest.

As one small example, The Highlander Research and Education Center, weeks after George Floyd’s murder, organized a virtual cultural bazaar full of joyful dance and powerful music and film. (The Highlander Center, previously the Highlander Folk School, provides training and education for emerging and existing movement leaders throughout the South, Appalachia, and the world. You can watch their cultural bazaar fundraiser here on their FB group.) The Highlander Center has an amazing and long history. They helped to train and equip civil rights leader Rosa Parks prior to her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. My friend and author Kim Ruehl has a new book coming out about the Highlander Center’s legacy of potent protest music, which I’ll share once it is published.

In addition to the Highlander Center I wanted to share some other current inspirations, ranging from an INCREDIBLE tap dance by Chloe Arnold and The Syncopated Ladies performed for incarcerated men to Justina Blakeney of Jungalow and her home decor infused with consciousness.

There is such wisdom to be found now in leaning on the arts, and a reminder that cultural change can be beautiful.

When I listen to antiracism thought leaders and black coaches I am also hearing their request, that as a white person with many privileges in this society, I spend time doing anti-racist work and grieving and learning on my own time and within my white relationships. So that when I show up in shared spaces, I can do so with resiliency and an openness to listen first, to be uncomfortable, to stretch and to use my voice and energy to work toward needed structural reforms.

From this perspective, listening to my old Enneagram type 3 gremlin telling me to DO more, only keeps me from the rest I need to do the emotional work so that I can show up with presence at this time. When I am in burn out mode – my own emotional pain takes center stage. This is called empathetic distress and it keeps us stuck. I wrote a whole blog post about it, which you can read here.

So how did I ultimately emerge from the jaw of this gremlin? By adjusting my daily flourish formula. I needed more time to grieve the clean pain of waking up to another layer of social injustice in which I am embedded. I need time to feel more feelings as I read and learn. I also needed to recognize that as a parent and someone homeschooling three children over the Spring because of COVID (and who knows what the fall will bring?) that I was coming into this moment already on the verge of depletion.

So I added in more support, meeting with my body-based therapist, two coaches, and my Enneagram teacher to really aid me in turning the corner. I also tweaked my spiritual practices, which often stop working for us when we are growing. Silent sitting meditation, which I love and write about often, wasn’t the right container. I have needed something more embodied to support me during this time so I’ve added in five rhythms dancing, as well as immersive time in nature and yoga nidra. (It’s amazing, you get to REST and MEDITATE at the same time. #win)

And what are the gifts of doing this inner Enneagram work?

Freedom. Safety. A lightness of being. A feeling of coming home to myself. Of once again trusting my own heart to guide me.

I really hope this gremlin case-study is helpful for you.

The path of spiritual growth is one of forgetting and remembering, but each turn takes us deeper, like a spiral labyrinth back to essence.

And I would love to hear from you. This challenging time of Covid and social change is the PERFECT opportunity to clear out old gremlins and to grow in our capacities.

What gremlins are you unearthing? What resources do you need in your formula so that you can flourish in this season of life?

Love and all the good, Courtney

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.

 

Want to get the latest from Courtney?

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