A Note from Courtney + Trusted Resources for Now 📚

A Note from Courtney + Trusted Resources for Now 📚

This morning I feel I have landed enough to at least begin to write about the events of the last couple of weeks. It has been a heartbreaking and challenging time in the US and indeed around the globe in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, the protests and vigils in response to his death and those of so many other black citizens, and the animation of much needed conversations and policy shifts to acknowledge structural racism in our society. 

I shared a post recently on my personal Facebook page about how I am navigating these times with my family, and I want to also share it below along with resources.

I am deep in a process of listening, both to black, brown and indigenous leaders and authors and to my inner guidance.

As a white, educated woman with many privileges, I want to do and be better. 

And I believe the journey inward, through the Enneagram and other awareness tools like meditation, are valuable resources that can ground and equip us for the work at hand.

Finding wholeness within enables us to commit ourselves more fully toward healing and accountability and justice. 

Creating racial equity is a long game, but I believe in the capacity of the earth and human society to heal and renew.

Flourishing is never a solidary enterprise.

Let’s keep taking steps, together. 

Courtney

A few months ago a friend organized these porch family portraits in our cohousing community. I completely forgot about the photoshoot so we literally pried our kids off the couch and I washed my hands from a morning in the garden and so we are captured. Human family in our natural state. 💗

There is so much pain in the collective forcefield right now with the killing of #georgefloyd and I feel grief and sadness and anger and the slow-burn desire as a white-bodied woman to do and to be better.

It is an intense time to be alive and to parent.

And one social media post and donation is just a tiny turtle step. 🐢

But I do believe our words matter. And our money. And our relationships.

I want to be an ally. Imperfect but open.

I want to raise white children who are unequivocally aware that #blacklivesmatter.

And I am committed to the conversations, education and deepening awareness work that show me how to do my part.

Here are two resources that I have found this week that I am leaning into:

One is a donation opportunity, The Loveland Foundation, especially their therapy fund which supports Black women and girls in accessing mental health care — because healing impacts generations.

And the second is a book, called My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem.

I haven’t yet read this book but it comes highly recommended and Rich and I are doing it together. In the little I have read so far I appreciate the way it approaches the topic of racial injustice through the lens of our bodies and also offers a human scale step-by-step healing process alongside the needed societal view. It is available via Amazon in kindle and audible form, and the hardcover is available is on the author’s website.

I am also inspired by these words from Andréa Ranaej:

“anti-racism is not an identity or a checklist; it’s a practice.”

I would love for you to join me in donating, reading, inspired activism, listening and learning. And I would love to hear what resources you are leaning into right now. Reply to share more. 

Love,

Courtney

📸 Photo Credit. The photographer of this pic, Ariel Shumaker, didn’t want payment but requested that we make a donation to support the community during Covid 19. We made a donation to a local health organization here in Asheville which supports underserved communities of color.

Resources 

21 – Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge ©

Harvard Kennedy School  — On how to translate a movement sparked by tragedy into policy change. *So much good writing and thinking here to take in. Marshal Ganz is one of my favorite professors and community organizing experts. 

Trusted Resources for Talking to Children & Families About Race

Donation Opportunities

When it comes to money I am all for following your heart. 💗 This week I am supporting the Loveland Foundation mentioned above offering mental health support for black girls and women and supporting local black doulas caring for families and new mothers during this challenging time. 

Reading

In the wake of this week I am thirsty for more writing from black, brown and indigenous authors.

Maya Angelo has long been comfort food. I think we need poetry right now to fuel our heart’s expansion. 

My Grandmother’s Hands (a signed hardcopy I’m excited about) is en route. I have just taken a little look at the Kindle version (I do better with paper copies) and it looks really compelling.

I just re-read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. The intro ALONE was some of the best writing I’ve read in a while. Such a commitment to service through her words. In tiny stories she opens up a portrait of life in her Spanish-speaking community in Chicago. Also a good option for young readers, middle school on up. 

I’m part way through Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, a botanist and member of Citizen Potawatomi Nation. SO GOOD. Changing the way I look at plants and people and teaching me new words to have the conversation I want to be having.

Inspired Action

Right now I am mostly listening for what is mine to do and educating myself. But I am fortunate to have neighbors who show me where and how to plug into the Asheville community. I wrote a letter to the city council in support of increasing funding for black entrepreneurs and educational opportunities. I am learning how to support the on the ground changes that are needed.

And I would love to hear from you! There are so many powerful ways to participate in change, in your local community and beyond.

I’d love to hear where you are inspired to plug in. And I hope you are taking good care of yourself along the way.  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 a student and a teacher of the Enneagram who has helped hundreds of conscious women, and a few inspiring men, pursue their most salient goals and discover more pleasure in the everyday. She has 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 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 their new 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!!

 

Maybe You Won’t Learn Italian…

Maybe You Won’t Learn Italian…

Overloaded with online resources + opportunities?

I get it. I LOVE personal growth resources. I love to learn, especially to drink in Enneagram trainings and quality online coaching programs. And yet that can become another form of doing. Sometimes we are invited to be still. To allow the growth to come to us, like wild edibles or seeds blown by the wind finding their way into your perfectly tended garden rows.

I think this COVID-inspired slow down is inviting us to turn inward.

To some, this may feel more like a rough initiation than a gentle invitation.

There is something painful when you are forced to stop. Especially in a culture that doesn’t honor or acknowledge the inner life or teach us, in little bites, how to be emotionally literate—to feel emotions in our bodies and to distinguish the voice of our Enneagram personality/ego from our deeper essence.

Without embodied practices to help guide us, dramatically ratcheting down the pace can be scary—like being under quarantine with our inner demons.

I write about this feeling of psychic whiplash in my book The Flourish Formula.

One of the things I’m noticing, especially in the personal growth world, is a rush to toss resources into the space that is opening. I feel the impulse myself, wondering “What more can I do/give/share?” and creating free resources, like this guided meditation for resiliency and a post on what my family and I are doing to boost our immune systems.

I relish a well-timed resource and consider myself a human-to-book matchmaker. 

However, sustainable inner growth is really not about adding in content or resources.

It is the fine art of subtraction.

As a coach and Enneagram teacher, I do not fix people. I help them discover their wholeness, hidden beneath old ideas, emotional patterns and personality trances that are ready to be cleared.

And clearing the old is often THE most powerful part of the growth process.

So, I want to invite you to be judicious about how much pressure you feel to make the most of this time. Maybe you will finally learn Italian.

Or maybe you will simply sweep off the deck and enjoy the sunshine.

Maybe you will pivot in your creative biz and find the perfect offering to help others right now. Or maybe you can just do one small beautiful job. The work in front of you that brings in income to sustain you and shares your gifts with someone who needs them.

I know these are small gestures. And perhaps like me, you are hungry for the big picture and wondering what is the macro-narrative? Where are we headed? What fruit will grow out of this experience, both from the painful elements and the beautiful ones?

I love those questions; but even more vital is this:

Who do I want to BE during this time? How do I want to show up in my life?

I want to be present to my children and husband and to cultivate the green spaces and relationships with neighbors in our cohousing community. I want to care well for my coaching clients in their unique and varied needs (this challenge is something we are moving through collectively, though the impact is felt individually). I want to sit in meditation and let the Mystery find me. I want to take this time to do a little reflecting on and dreaming related to my coaching business (like maybe REALLY starting a podcast!). And I want to watch the green leaves emerge on the branch out my window.

Who do you want to be? What is the life that is called out of you right now?

How we answer that will be the seed of what grows next.

Love and all the good, Courtney

PS Gentle, consistent support is one of the most powerful ways to nurture growth. That is true in “regular” life but even more true now. A time of slowing down and clearing out the old can be a powerful opportunity to reimagine and redesign your life. As a coach, I am especially drawn given all the economic upheaval to offer support to soulful creatives who want to start their own business or side business. I have been doing this flavor of coaching (what I call biz + life coaching or mentor coaching) organically over the last few years as people have reached out to me and wanted BOTH practical help around creating a website, connecting to clients and building a healthy relationship to money AND a coach who can do the deep dive into the inner life, gremlins and all. I love helping people in this way and currently have space for two new clients. Please send an email to cp@courtneypinkerton for the details. Payment plans are available.

“Courtney is a wonderful coach. As soon as our call connects, I instantly start to relax and breathe as she has coached me to do so many times at the beginnings of calls. After coaching me through a cross-country move and then a decision to have another baby, I started working with her most recently on my dream of starting a copywriting business. Over the course of the past year, I went from buying a notebook and a file folder to organize my thoughts all the way to taking an online course, building my website, and beginning to work with clients! Courtney always supplies me with amazing tools when I need them, helps me get clear on my priorities, and encourages me to celebrate the small (and big) victories. She’s so clearly energized by her work and brings so much passion to the process! As a solopreneur herself, she has a deep understanding of what it takes to start–and sustain–a small business. I’m grateful for Courtney’s wisdom and encouragement as my business begins to bloom.”

Katie Crouch, Copywriter + Owner, www.katiekcrouch.com

 

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 a student and a teacher of the Enneagram who has helped hundreds of conscious women, and a few inspiring men, pursue their most salient goals and discover more pleasure in the everyday. She has 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 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 their new 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!!

 

How My Family & I Are Boosting Our Immunity Right Now

How My Family & I Are Boosting Our Immunity Right Now

How are you? How are your peoples? How is your immune system?

I was actually not feeling well earlier this week and it foregrounded how scary even just simple and common illnesses are to navigate right now. Today I want to share the things my family and I are doing to boost our immune systems. So many of these are things we already know. But in times of big changes and stress, we need gentle reminders. Take a quick look and see if anything surprises you. You may want to add one or two tips into your regular routine.

Sleep

Sleep is actually more beneficial to your nervous system than meditation. It is the foundation for health. If you are struggling to get enough try moving your bed time earlier by just 15 minutes. You don’t have to make a big shift all at once. Sleep experts tell us that the hours of sleep we get before 12 midnight are the most beneficial and are especially important for bringing down adrenaline levels. So as much as possible practice good screen hygiene and turn them off so your body clock can wind down. I’m not perfect at this and some nights I do want to watch Netflix after the kids are in bed, but other nights I use that time to enjoy a conversation with Rich or otherwise relax. Do the best you can to attend to sleep right now and it will benefit you in many ways.

Remember bio-individualism. This is one of my favorite terms. It simply means we are all physiologically unique. So while 8 hours a night may be enough for the average person, you have to tune into YOUR needs. I am more of a 9 hours a night person, especially when I’m stressed.

Enjoy the little pleasures available to many of us right now, like waking without an alarm + physical movement. Waking with the sun, followed by some physical movement that makes you sweaty, is a wonderful seasonal practice especially in the spring. I don’t usually hop out of bed to do anything too strenuous, but I do love morning yoga or chigong. (I’ve linked here to some of my favorite free online resources). And if you are open to brisk exercise, my husband goes on an almost daily dawn bike ride in the hills of Asheville and he returns so vibrant. Most days I prefer a brisk walk in the afternoon, but maybe one morning I’ll try it at sunrise!

Metabolize Stress

There is so much we can’t control right now. Media limits are really important to keep our stress at a manageable level. Can you limit your media consumption to once or twice a day? I find radio easier to integrate than TV, as images tend to sear into my brain and scare me more. Pay attention to your own needs. Information is good. Constantly scaring your nervous system isn’t helpful for your health.

Preserve Social Connections

Physical distancing, rather than SOCIAL distancing, is the better way to describe the practice that is helpful to contain the spread of COVID-19. Because actually we NEED social connection and love and friendship. How does this work best for you? I have heard stories of virtual cocktail hours or even online dinner parties. Maybe it will come to that for me but for now I like to keep it simple: like texting friends and making voice memos. (Most of my friends are busy and we rarely catch each other on the phone. Rather than calling and leaving a voicemail, I like to simply record a quick voice note and text it over.) I also love going for a walk and talking on the phone with friends and family. I am also super grateful for our co-housing community. We sang to each other from our porches recently and are doing a lot of 6+ feet apart gardening, which is life-giving for us all. Trust whatever feels good to you and reach out to the people who nourish and shelter you emotionally.

DIY Immune Boosters

The three “S’s” above are foundational practices I am trying to keep my eye on right now: sleep, managing stress, and cultivating social connection. But there are simple things you can do to help your immune system. First a caveat. I’m not a doctor. You know that already. I am a holistic life coach and someone who has spent a lot of time studying and gathering simple techniques for exquisite self care. Never has that been more important. Here is what my family and I are doing on a regular basis:

Fresh air. Every day. Especially nature time or Vitamin N. At least a half hour. If we can get time in the sunshine and Vitamin D, even better. Gardening counts. Walking and observing the neighbor’s blooming cherry trees counts. A little bit of nature goes a long way.

Vitamin C. I take this every day along with a multi-vitamin and more if I’m feeling sick.

Herbal Supplements. The word on the street in the herbal + medical community is that mushrooms are a really helpful immune booster during this pandemic (Maitake and Cordyceps are two examples I have on hand.) I also take Astragalus every day as a preventative immune booster. Obviously with supplements you want to do your own research and talk to your health team. You can find these online or at a health food grocery store.

Herbal Tea. This is my FAVORITE. I should probably do a whole blog post just on this. This week I have been enjoying tulsi (holy basil) and nettle and chocolate mint tea. I have all of these growing fresh in pots or the garden (the nettle grows in the woods behind my house.) But you can find all of them online or at the store. Drink whatever herbal tea you enjoy. I like to brew a batch of tea with dinner and we drink it lukewarm with the meal or the next day. 

Do Nothing Day. This tip I learned in the Peace Corps. Our doctors knew that we were going to be out in remote villages and many hours from medical care. They wanted us to take good care of ourselves so that little things didn’t become big. And they told us: “If you feel a touch sick or run down, stop.” Such simple advice but so different than the approach I had absorbed from our go-getter culture which seemed always to say the opposite – “if you feel run down, dig deep and press on!”

During my two years in the Peace Corps I tried out this suggestion. And it worked. Just one day in the hammock, truly resting and doing only the absolute minimum to have food and water for myself, was enough to see me to the other side of most illnesses. Rest gives your immune system the best chance of responding and restoring your equilibrium early in the trajectory of an illness, when things may be easier to nip in the bud.

This week when I had sinus pressure and a headache, I rested as best as I could with three kiddos home. (Thank goodness it is “Spring Break”😊) I enjoyed baths with Epsom salts and essential oils, which are also great for the immune system. I rub On Guard, an essential oil blend, on my feet most mornings and diffuse Wild Orange essential oil for anxiety or to boost the mood in the home and rub Geranium oil on my chest after a shower. It is a good tonic for the heart. Plus it smells like perfume. I think those little touches which make me feel feminine and at home in my body are worth a lot during this challenging time.

I hope these tips are helpful to you!

What are you finding to boost to your immune system?

I’d love to hear. Leave me a comment below!

Yours in frequent hand-washing and sending lots of love,

Courtney

PS How can I help you flourish even in this challenging time?

Try my free guided meditation to balance your nervous system and boost immunity.

And if you find it hard to slow down even when you feel low energy, you may have some strong inner voices that push and drive you into action. I encourage you to read my book The Flourish Formula: An Overachiever’s Guide to Slowing Down + Accomplishing More. There is a lot of pressure in the air *and internet* right now to be productive at home. I don’t think any of us need more pressure right now. The book is full of mindbody tips and awareness practices, which help you diffuse internal pressure and clarify your priorities and let go of the rest. 

I have space for one more private coaching client this month. I am ALL about people getting emotional and mental support right now. If you would like to learn more just send me an email to cp@courtneypinkerton.com and put *Coaching* in the subject line.

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 a student and a teacher of the Enneagram who has helped hundreds of conscious women, and a few inspiring men, pursue their most salient goals and discover more pleasure in the everyday. She has 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 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 their new 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!!

 

Good Questions

Good Questions

Last week I went to sleep super tired every night. It reminded me of how tired my brain felt when first learning Spanish in an immersion program and family stay during the Peace Corps.

The combination of three children homeschooling and Rich and I both working from home means a lot of moving parts. Plus like us all I have been processing the emotions and stress related to COVID-19: fear mostly, and some sadness over personal disruptions and changes and more sadness as I worry about others and wonder how to help.

I’ve also been talking to clients about how to navigate this time. There is no one approach for everyone. Yes routines help. And mindbody practices like tapping and meditation help balance your nervous system and boost your immunity. Take shelter in your relationships, whether at home or virtually. And media limits help you stay informed but not overwhelmed. (This is a personal discernment, but for me the right amount is listening to NPR or the BBC once a day *when my kids are otherwise engaged because honestly they don’t need to hold all of this* plus checking in with the CDC and local officials online as needed. Otherwise I try not to fill the quiet space with news.)

This moment in time is funneling a big dose of additional stress through our collective lives.

So go gentle on yourself if you find that you are more on edge, if old Enneagram patterns emerge again or you pick stupid fights with your husband (or is that just me?).

So where am I finding comfort these days? In good questions. Questions that invite me into living answers.

Here are a couple of my current favorites. You might journal or hold them as a koan or puzzle that you meditate on throughout the day:

🍋 Where am I being carried? Meaning rather than thinking about all I have to DO and getting hung up in that perspective can I notice the places where life is already rising up to support me?

e.g. My neighbor who is facilitating a CSA farm share to be delivered to our cohousing community.

My son inviting me to skateboard and run with him (it’s pretty funny actually).

All the pear trees and other fruit trees blooming around my house.

Another question that nourishes me right now is this:

🍋Where do I find beauty?

Edible flowers + violet ice cubes

My girls playing together

Bird calls + trees that feel like wise elders in the woods behind our house.

I’m also thinking a lot about how I can support people through free resources and online offerings/programs and coaching.

Mental and emotional support is so vital right now. 

Here are some of the ways I’m supporting my online community during this time: 

On the Blog + Social Media: As many of us are sheltering at home, I’ll be sharing free resources + blogging more often for the foreseeable future. Two upcoming posts I’m planning are: How I am Boosting My Immunity During COVID-19 (you all know I love holistic care so in this post I’ll nerd out about herbs, oils and other tips) and The Change Cycle (A powerful tool + framework for understanding how humans move through a time of dramatic change.) I’m sure I will also share more about navigating relationship stresses with the Enneagram. I’d love to take any blog post requests you have. Please post recommendations in the comments or email them to me: cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

With Current Clients: At first I was wondering if coaching would feel different in this collective crisis but I’m discovering it to be a sweet moment of connection and a chance to practice flourish tools to boost resiliency. I’m also of course flexible if clients need to reschedule for any reason as we all settle into new routines and grateful to my husband who comes to sit with the kids while I have calls. Here is how one client put it this week:

“I’m feeling such gratitude for our call. I always do, but I admit I was curious to see how today would go, since dwelling on the pandemic isn’t exactly constructive, but I wasn’t sure how we’d focus on anything else. And it was great! Insightful, and I’m left with a feeling of well-being and hope. Also I can’t remember if I told you this but I finally got around to trying Tulsi tea and I’ve been drinking a ton of it. Nothing like endless quantities of a tasty hot non-caffeinated beverage to comfort oneself these days. Anyways, thanks again! 💗 Jeni

For Past Clients: Those of you who are seeking connection and conversation, I’m offering one-off sessions to connect, talk, and provide you the space to explore how you can be intentional during this time. Reach out to me at cp@courtneypinkerton.com to learn more and schedule a session.

For New Clients: I am thinking a lot about how to support new clients during this time. I am thinking about a “pay from the heart” pricing option for online programs for those whose finances have been impacted by the pandemic and also about reviving my “buy one gift one” program – so that new clients who have the means to invest in coaching are able to get help AND to open up a scholarship for an ER nurse or other person working on the front lines. I have preserved a handful of free coaching slots for prospective clients and you can email me at cp@courtneypinkerton and we will set up a time to talk. 

We are all in this together, friends.

Sending you love and a virtual hug on this day.

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 a student and a teacher of the Enneagram who has helped hundreds of conscious women, and a few inspiring men, pursue their most salient goals and discover more pleasure in the everyday. She has 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 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 their new 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!!

 

Guided Meditation to Balance Your Nervous System + Boost Immunity

Guided Meditation to Balance Your Nervous System + Boost Immunity

I know for so many of us right now it is easy to tip into our stress response and we need simple ways to reset. 

I created a guided meditation to support you during this challenging time.

This practice is the most popular meditation I have taught over the years because it balances your nervous system, your sympathetic or fight and flight/stress response and your parasympathetic which is the rest and digest part of your nervous system.

A balanced nervous system helps us metabolize stress and boosts our immune system.

If you are new to meditating or you have a regular practice, I hope you will try it out.

You can listen below. 

 

Or click here to download. Metabolize Stress Meditation

The guided meditation is 9 minutes. You can enjoy it sitting in a chair, cross-legged on a cushion or even laying flat on your bed like in corpse pose in yoga.

Once you do this guided meditation you can actually integrate this simple body practice in micro breaks throughout your day.

Please try it out and share with a friend you think could use some support.

We are all in this together.

Warmly, 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 a student and a teacher of the Enneagram who has helped hundreds of conscious women, and a few inspiring men, pursue their most salient goals and discover more pleasure in the everyday. She has 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 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 their new 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!!

 

How to Resource Yourself in a Pandemic 💓 {And Support Those You Love}

How to Resource Yourself in a Pandemic 💓 {And Support Those You Love}

I have something exciting to share with you today. But first my heart wants to talk about something else. Namely how to use mindbody tools and the Enneagram to resource yourself during times of stress.

I want to honor that there is a lot of fear in the air (and media) and it requires discernment to tell the difference between the micromovements that are ours to do in this situation  – based on our family, our health, our plans – and panic.

This is normal, human terrain. To be alive, in these human bodies, is to be vulnerable. We just normally live a few steps back from that awareness whereas the threat of pandemic brings it up close and right in front of us.

So I want to remind you of a couple of awareness tools to keep in mind right now:

🌊 Emotions pass through your body in 90 seconds. They are energy in motion, like a wave. So if you are navigating stress related to this current health crisis or any other kind of challenge, please give yourself extra room to feel your feelings. A feeling of safety is something we cultivate first in the body. So ground your feet. Let the fear or anger or sadness move. If you don’t hang on to them or push them away – these feelings dissipate, often leaving some new internal space or breathing room in their wake. This can help you feel more resourced.

🤏Try tapping! This super simple mindbody technique (a DIY form of acupressure) sends a calming message to your amygdala, which is the brain’s “smoke detector” which triggers your fight/flight/freeze response. Translation: tapping makes you more stress hardy. Try it out!

💗 Lean into your relationships *either in person or virtually* and allow them to shelter to you. It helps to remember that we all share the same human vulnerabilities and yearn for the same things: wholeness, safety, care, ease. Give and receive kindness from the people you love.

(The Enneagram is a huge ally here, see below.)

Regarding Coranavirus I am guessing and hoping that we may know a lot more in a month or two.

AND of course it is a good time to be informed. Gather information by visiting the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO) websites regularly.

But information alone does not help us navigate stress.

🌿 A verdent inner life is where we draw our courage and wisdom.

Nourishing our inner eco-system (in a culture that rarely acknowledges its existence) is how we take care of ourselves AND have the capacity to contribute in meaningful ways in the face of collective challenges.

So how do you cultivate a vibrant inner life? Well luckily there are many, wonderful tools that we can choose from and I have gathered a beautiful collection in The Flourish Formula and show you how to start using them.

And here is my exciting news:

Last week I was interviewed as part of the upcoming Enneagram Summit 2020 with a talk on “How to Help Your Family Flourish with the Enneagram.”

The Summit, hosted by Sarajane Case of Enneagram & Coffee, includes over 40 speakers covering a range of topics from work, romance and entrepreneurship (all through an Ennea lens).

I was so happy to have a platform to share tips for how to integrate the Enneagram into our family culture in a way that it life-giving and honoring to all.

(Btw I am talking about ALL families. Single or partnered. Children, furbabies, grandchildren, chosen family. However you define those people you love and hold most dear: that is what I am talking about. Especially but not exclusively the young ones in your life.)

Honestly this Summit feels like a visibility initiation as I am featured alongside many of my favorite Enneagram teachers and those who have nurtured my learning and growth in this field for over a decade.

But there comes a time when we need to own what we know and who we are.

Not from a showy, pushy way but more in a “hell yess I want to be on THAT team” and give it all I’ve got.

Which I did in the interview.

Next time I hope to breathe a little bit more during the conversation.

Which moved quickly and through some deep waters.

But I was _so_ excited I had a hard time sleeping the night before.

This happens almost every time I have the opportunity to teach the Enneagram to a new audience or in a more expansive way. It shows me I am on a “hot track” of growth and learning to expand my capacities.
It is also supremely uncomfortable and requires me to use all the tools I teach to keep my nervous system from overheating. 😉

So if you are interested to learn more about the Enneagram – I recommend you check out the Summit.

I think there will be a lot there to nourish you. The online Summit starts on Monday March 16 and the price starts at $27 if you want to listen live during the web-based event or you can upgrade for the recordings.

In addition to my talk I’m looking forward to one on compassion by Renee Rosario, a  favorite faculty from the Narrative Enneagram. Previously I have always had to travel to an in-person training to learn from her so I LOVE that Renee and many so many other gifted teachers are available in this accessible way. Reply here with any questions. Hope to see you in the Summit!

Love,
Courtney

PS Did you jump to the end? Here is the recap: be kind to yourself now and use the above tools to help with extra stress in your system. And you are invited to join me in the Enneagram Summit 2020 which starts Monday, March 16th. The price for the online event starts at $27 and has so much to nourish your heart and mind.

 

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 a student and a teacher of the Enneagram who has helped hundreds of conscious women, and a few inspiring men, pursue their most salient goals and discover more pleasure in the everyday. She has 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 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 their new 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!!

 

More Hugs + Less Go-Getter Ultimatums

More Hugs + Less Go-Getter Ultimatums

This week I have been navigating some new opportunities as a coach and author.  They bring with them more visibility and the chance to share my flourish teaching and to connect to a much larger audience.

It is really exciting and if I am honest, scary.

My nervous system has been vibrating with an extra charge the last several days. My sleep is a little wacky. There is a bite in my tone to my sweet husband as we discuss our taxes. I feel distracted while my youngest reads me her newest hand-drawn comic.

Luckily, I recognize these symptoms.

Like many of my clients, I am a recovering overachiever. And before my introduction to the Enneagram over 12 years ago, I would have chosen to kick these scared voices to the curb. I would try very hard to ignore them. To give myself phony pep talks/ultimatums like “You just need to put your shoulders back and go in there like you know what you are doing….”

But running from demanding inner voices had an unexpected outcome.

It would drain the sweetness out of the moments of culmination.

When the project was done, the speech given, the article published, the course launched, I had a hard time enjoying it.

I was more relieved than happy. In part because I didn’t really give myself any credit.

I kept looking to the outside and the outcomes and other people’s opinions to guide my feelings.

Now I do things differently.

Rather than pushing my way forward, I stretch in new directions. I let myself feel the pleasure AND the discomfort in the expansion.

Like a plant in the garden, to grow upward requires deeper and wider roots.

I am FAR from perfect but I do know how to help myself in these stretch moments much better than in the past. I lean on the tools and resources I have collected (the same ones I share here with my community and with clients.)

Practices like tapping and chigong bypass my thinking brain and soothe my body directly.

Meditation helps me remember that I am not just a separate lonesome self with something to prove but that I am held and deeply connected.

And the most powerful practice of all: telling the truth!

First to myself by simply acknowledging the fear or self-doubt that is present.

To make space for it and normalize it as part of growing.

To offer the scared one within a cup of tea and some compassion.

And telling the truth makes it easier to open to the relationships that surround me.

To draw in nourishment from my husband’s hugs and the ways my kids make me laugh.

To let myself take breaks and walk the hills around our house or head out to my monthly book club and enjoy a glass of wine.

To connect with my neighbors and reach out to my coach for encouragement.

Each microbreak helping me relax my death grip on my to-do list.

And enabling me to pick back up the work at hand with a lighter touch.

Sometimes people avoid diving into the Enneagram because they don’t want to be put into a box.

Again and again what it provides me is freedom.

I write much more about the Enneagram and mindbody and mind-set resources to help manage stress in my book The Flourish Formula: An Overachiever’s Guide to Slowing Down & Accomplishing More.

And this month I am doing something really special. I am donating 100% of the proceeds to social and ecological causes. (Since publishing the book we have been donating 50% to an amazing mentorship program for girls in Nicaragua. This month I am matching that donation with a second donation to tree sisters.org, who fund the planting of tropical trees, sequestering carbon and replenishing the world’s forests. Something hyperlocal and human-focused and something global. Because, balance.)

I hope you will grab your own copy or buy one for a friend.  

And I have a whole collection of additional resources for readers called the Flourish Kit.

Directions for how to access it are in each book.

Flourishing is never a solitary project. We are in this together.

Warmly, 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 a student and a teacher of the Enneagram who has helped hundreds of conscious women, and a few inspiring men, pursue their most salient goals and discover more pleasure in the everyday. She has 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 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 their new 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!!

 

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.

 

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 a student and a teacher of the Enneagram who has helped hundreds of conscious women, and a few inspiring men, pursue their most salient goals and discover more pleasure in the everyday. She has 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 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 their new home in a co-housing community 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 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 conscious women, and a few inspiring men, pursue their most salient goals and discover more pleasure in the everyday. She has 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 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 their new 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!!

 

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 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 conscious women, and a few inspiring men, pursue their most salient goals and discover more pleasure in the everyday. She has 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 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 their new home in a co-housing community in Asheville, North Carolina.