Pics from California + A Body Compass Refresher

Pics from California + A Body Compass Refresher

Bench on Cliffs

On the cliffs of Central California… looking out over San Luis Bay.

Bench from which to Ponder

Favorite perch from which to ponder truth and beauty.

Well that was fun. I mean super-fun. I’m afraid the happiness bubble from my trip last weekend to the cliffs of central California has not quite deposited me into normal life. Maybe it won’t! Maybe I’ll just stay here hovering with contentment over the piles of laundry and art supplies that seem to have bred in my absence.

{I have to insert a big dose of gratitude here for my husband who totally cared well for our children without the passive aggressive complaining which usually infuses my attitude when he travels. The house rightfully came in second after taking the kids to celebrate comic book day in Grand Prairie and other dad-inspired weekend fun.}

A few of my favorite pics from the Martha Beck Life-Coach training event in San Luis Obispo, CA:

The_Ladies

Here is a tip. The next time you are at a conference and want to take a cute pic with your fabulous training partners don’t put your nametag on your pants thinking that will somehow make it invisible…

Sunset over Water

Steps to Beach

Anywhere bougainvillea are this happy so too am I!

Anywhere bougainvillea is this happy (they grew into enormous bushes!) so am I

So I could just share photos all day, but wanted also to offer one of the nuggets of truth I’m integrating from the weekend:

A reaffirmation of the power of the body compass.

Ever had one of those times where you talked yourself into a ‘yes’ even though your gut/body was yelling “hells no!”?

Then you know what I’m talking about.

You can play with your compass in all kinds of ways and situations– both big and small.  Listen to your body as you inquire:

Do I want kale salad or bean and cheese nachos for lunch? or both!

Yoga pants or blue jeans?

Grad school or to start my own business?

You get the idea. Sounds too simple and yes there are many additional and more subtle ways to use this tool but most of us live so disconnected from our bodies that just to open the channel can be a powerful corrective.

At its most elegant the language of the body is this:

expansion or contraction.

It is almost as if our body literally opens when we are pointed in the right direction. And closes down when we are heading away from the truth. Or from the life that wants to live in us.

Now it is important here to say something about thoughts.

Thoughts drive our emotions which create body sensations which drive action. (Another useful framework from Martha Beck).

So if you are having a muddy body compass read (meaning it is hard to discern if it is a yes or a no) it might simply be inviting you to attend to some thoughts.

Because if you are holding on to some painful thoughts about the option (like maybe an old story) it can be hard to feel your way into your body’s wisdom.

Also growing can be uncomfortable so you may feel some static in your body which comes from the stretch. This is not necessarily negative. It is more like the sensation of going for a new yoga pose: while you might feel some tension in your body there is also a deep yumminess because you know ultimately your body loves this stuff!

There is much more to say on thought dissolving and the way that negative thoughts affect our body– in fact that’s a whole other tool! But for now I’d just encourage you to settle your mind with a few deep breaths or other calming practice before tuning into the body compass.

And if your skeptical brain is perking up here to say…. I dont know about this “body wisdom” idea…. Great! no need to turn that off.

Just play around with the compass. Ignore it. Follow it. And keep your compassionate inner observer there seeing how things shake out.

Treat the whole thing like an experiment or an invitation.

What happens when rather than tuning out the body… you turn up the volume?  Could you begin to develop a new relationship to its wisdom?

For figuring out how to feel good in our bodies and in our days is the whole point of this human journey.

Why? Because it is from there — that place of expansion– that we can creatively respond to whatever we encounter in life and share our greatest gifts.

But don’t take my word for it! As always try it out for yourself and I would love to hear how it goes! If you are feeling brave leave me a little comment below of when/how you used your compass and what happened. I think I have a tribe of introverts (which makes sense, i’m one too!) but i do love to hear from you and know that others who read the blog would too.

xo

Courtney

PS The Summer of Meditation Challenge is coming…. A free online training program. This year is going to be lean + light and full of new audio meditations and other reflections for you. xo

Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three young children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at 
cp@courtneypinkerton.com or you can schedule a complementary conversation to talk more.

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Dreaming + Scheming. Your How-to Guide on Desire

Dreaming + Scheming. Your How-to Guide on Desire

Perl's Nest

I’m on an airplane right now en route to California for a life coach extravaganza (that is not the official name of the event but it might as well be:) If I could send you a pic of the sun reflected in the ocean I’d do it.

But instead I share one of the most beautiful pics from my week right here in regular life land. I took the kids to a fun event at our sculpture garden here in Dallas over the weekend. One of the stations involved making your own bird’s nest out of recycled materials. I swear I thought I was the only human who liked to do that. au contraire! Above Perl showcases her design.

Also… let’s talk about dreaming + scheming.

When I transitioned into coaching now three years ago— there were several elements which enticed me into this field: I am a continuing ed junkie, I can’t stop engaging in and sharing my experiences with holistic modalities—that had to be useful in some actual job– and I wanted to design an online space which could be a ‘watering hole’ for thirsty travelers en route to their essential selves. (Did you know Bird in Hand was inspired by a vintage tavern sign?)

But I remember a particular “ping” of recognition around the idea of being able to couple my career with traveling. Coaches can coach from anywhere … and often do. I saw that in the founder of my first coach training program who was teaching from Hawaii, and I thought, “um… how do I get in on that gig?” Not that I wanted to teach with him or be him, but I wanted to be me experiencing the joy of travel and learning as well as opening that door for others.

This weekend feels like a beautiful chance to live into that desire as I travel to the San Luis Obispo area for a two day event as part of the Martha Beck life coach training program.

It addition to staying at a resort on the beach, this gathering gives me a chance to meet up with people I have been training with over the phone and online for the past eight months and to celebrate! Also it is a chance to learn from and experience group coaching from master coaches in the field. All while breathing in the briny air.

Truthfully I’m kind of giddy about the hours on the airplane to read all by myself with no little people to attend to and keep quiet. Everything else feels over the top.

‘Dreaming + Scheming’ is part of the change cycle. It comes right after death and rebirth. And right before the hero’s saga (where all those dreams come into real life and knock you on your ass.) In route toward the promised land.

What am I talking about? The Change Cycle.

This lovely framework is one of the most useful bits I’ve gleaned from Martha Beck’s course.  Anyone who has gone through a big transition (which is, ahem, everyone who is honest) might recognize these stages.

There is a whole lot more to say on this framework (indeed it warrants its own blog post) but today I want to offer some tips for those of you who find yourself in square two. This is where you have outgrown the old way of doing things or being yourself but aren’t yet to the new equilibrium.

Hint: you can be in different squares or phases of the change cycle in different components of your life: health, family, career, spirituality etc.

Square one is often about grieving or letting go of the life we thought we would have or the person we thought we were (or should be).

You will know you are entering into square two when you get these little flashes of inspiration. A ping of soul recognition. Like I felt when I saw that coach teaching from Hawaii. Wait a minute… something in you wakes up as if from a sleep and focuses. I think I might want that. Not is a superficial grabby way. But in a deep spirit of recognition. I think that might be part of my authentic path of growth and service….

If that happens your inner critic might also stir and immediately begin to play whackamole with that or any other desire.

“You will never be able to afford that”

“It will take you too long to build up a whole new career”

“Whatever whatever… it will never work.”

Here is the truth:

Desires need space and breath in which to ripen.

And it is always a good starting point to simply notice these deep soul nudges and make space for them.

So you can surrender them.  At this point you may be saying… What?!

Yep. This is the two part process:

1) Name + honor the desire.

2) And lay it down.

So rather than seeing yourself as the main actor in making it happen through gritted teeth. Consider yourself more an adventurer looking and listening and watching for how that desire might take shape in and through your life.

Often this is a surprise. Or comes to you more as a gift you say yes to than an experience you drive or engineer.

anything_is_possible

The theme of the art event “anything is possible” is a great mantra for dreaming in square two. Just as a case study here is a map of how my desire came to form in real life:

I feel the soul ping around the desire to travel and learn as part of my coaching practice.

I sign up for a series of Enneagram trainings in Boulder where I met new colleagues (one of which became a special friend. )

We do our enneagram work + dream + scheme together.

She also hired me to help her write some copy for her website. She sent me a website she liked as a demo. I liked that website too. I resonated with the story of the coach on the demo site (ivy league credentials plus a desire for a more holistic coach training program.)

Through the demo site I connect to the Martha Beck website.

Shazam. I know I have found what I have been listening for. 

And now here we are 3 years after the original desire & 8 months after the training program started and I’m headed to meet my fellow trainees & master coaches in person at a beautiful resort.

So this one desire for learning-rich travel to delish locales is connected to others: like my desire for new relationships with a tribe of fellow mind/body enthusiasts, as well as a desire to engage in a robust coach training program where the learning + authenticity is prioritized rather than the performing or pretending you have all the answers. (Martha gets it, she has multiple Harvard degrees and knows what that will get you and what it won’t. And so this program is gentle with my recovering-overachiever tendencies).

That is how our deeper desires work.
They often work in tandem, like signposts coming in from different angles to direct us toward our most soulful path.

I hope this little example is helpful to you in discerning your own soul nudges and tracking how they ripen.

As always I would love to hear about. If you are feeling brave, leave a little comment here. Others at this watering hole might want to learn from your story.

Xo

Courtney

PS If  you are feeling the nudge to dream + scheme your next phase of life please schedule a complementary laser coaching session. The growing can be so much more fun with support and fresh tools.  xo

If you would like to read more about the change cycle, check out Martha Beck’s book Finding Your Own North Star. 

UpLevel FilmingCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three young children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at cp@courtneypinkerton.com or you can schedule a complementary conversation to talk more.

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