What’s so hard about asking for what you want or need?

self-care self-love Jun 09, 2022

Imagine this scenario: you're overwhelmed, the to-do list is a mile high and you wish someone would come to you and say “how can I help”? 

But you don't really say anything. You just keep it to yourself, sometimes seething, sometimes saying it doesn’t really matter, or it’s easier and quicker to do it yourself. And you stuff your feelings. Or blow up and say things you don’t really mean. 

You might hear yourself say sarcastically, "it would be nice if the people around me (spouse, kids, coworkers) would just pitch in and help."

Can you relate?

Asking for help and support when you need it

Do you even know what kind of help you need? 

There are tons of people, especially women, who aren’t asking for what they want or need. 

Let’s see if you can relate. 

  • When was the last time you wanted something but you didn’t ask for it? 
  • How many times a day do you ask for help? 
  • Are you trying to do...
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Becoming a widow: My well-being journey during life changes

overcoming challenges Jun 02, 2022

A Guest post by Penny Wood

We must let go of the life we planned,

So as to accept the life that is waiting for us.

Joseph Conrad

When becoming a widow, one joins a club in which no one wants to be a member.  If you are young when widowed, not only do you grieve your husband but also the life you thought you were going to have.  In October this year, I will have been in the widow club for 25 years. 

The day it happened to me 

In October of 1997, I was happily living in Davis, CA.  I was 52.  My husband Doc was 51. Our daughter Sara was 22, having graduated that June from the University of Washington. Our son Gerrit was 19 and beginning his sophomore year at Willamette University where he played football.  

It was Parents Weekend at Willamette and there was a home football game.  We had forgotten to get plane tickets that weekend so we were driving instead.  Near Canyonville in Southern Oregon, an 88-year-old man entered I-5 from an...

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When you feel stuck coaching can change your life

live your best life May 26, 2022

Have you ever felt stuck? If you've ever been unable to figure things out and known that you don't have the answers, have you ever said anything like this to yourself...

“I want to change my life but I have no idea what to do. Plus I’m scared. I’m afraid I’ll never be happy/where I want to be in life/balanced/fulfilled. 

I don’t have a clue how to get what I want and I don’t even think I can have it. 

If you’ve had these thoughts, you’re not alone. 

It’s hard to say this kind of stuff out loud. 

And…sometimes people go into self-blame mode and feel even worse and then say something like…what’s wrong with me?  Why can’t I figure this out? Will I ever get to be happy? 

The reason is that it’s hard. 

It’s hard when you feel stuck to get yourself out of that mode. I know because I’ve been there so many times. 

But we don’t have...

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How to know if you need a coach or a therapist

live your best life May 20, 2022

Let’s face it. Life isn’t easy. It’s tough and gutwrenching at times. And we can easily feel overwhelmed.  Plus we live in a world that’s chaotic, violent, unpredictable, scary, and more than our brains can handle.

This is why I encourage everyone to reach out and get help when they need it. I’ve been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for 30 years and I’ve also been a life coach for 17 years. I love both of these ways of helping people, but they are very different. 

If you're struggling in some way right now, or life isn't what you hoped it would be and you're not sure what to do, you may not know exactly what you need. 

Therapy and coaching are not the same. It's important to know the difference so you can make the best choice for yourself. To help you to do this here is some guidance on how to know if you need a coach or a therapist. 

Working with a Therapist

Therapists, also known as mental health...

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How coaching changed my life

 2006 on my way to Europe

There was a time in my life when I was fed up, burned out, and stressed. I didn’t really like how my life was going and I was way too busy to figure out what to do about it. 

I was working as a psychotherapist in a clinic with children and their families. It was hard, challenging, and emotionally draining work. I’d been at this clinic for eight years and I felt like I made a difference in the lives of the children and their parents.  But there was a cost.

Somewhere along the line, I began dreading getting up day after day, driving 30 miles to work in traffic. Some days it was hard to walk in the door because I was already tired. 

Feeling unfulfilled in my job

Even though I felt like I was helping children and I worked with wonderful colleagues who supported each other, I kept hearing that nagging voice inside me say, “you're not doing what you love and this job doesn't really bring you joy.”

I was afraid to let...

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The surprises I had when I became a mother

I've been privileged to be a mother and now a grandmother. My story may sound familiar and it might sound strange but I tell it to emphasize how mothers can learn so much about themselves and the surprises that happen along the way. 

This photo was taken a few years ago when my first two granddaughters were babies. I treasure these very special moments with them. 

When I was a little girl, I didn't think about becoming a mother, I just played with dolls and assumed I'd be a mother one day.

The joy of having my firstborn son

The moment I held my firstborn son in my arms, I knew something inside of me radically shifted forever.  It was as if fairy dust had been sprinkled over me as I completely and unforgivably fell in love. 

Andrew was big ...9 pounds and 4 oz. The labor was rough but I was determined to have this baby naturally. And I did. In fact, when it came time to push, I heard the doctor say, “we're going to have to use...

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How to do morning pages as part of your morning rituals

self-care Apr 29, 2022

Writing morning pages is a simple practice that can be an added benefit to not only your morning routine but your day as well.

Julia Cameron, author, and artist, wrote a book called The Artist Way back in 1992. In it, she encourages the reader to write morning pages... three pages of free-flowing thought by longhand. 

You are probably thinking, isn’t that journaling? Yes, yes, it is. However, morning pages are done first thing in the morning, and without any premeditation as to what will be written. Mrs. Cameron suggests that we write 3 pages without stopping. 

Benefits of doing morning pages 

I wrote morning pages without fail for two years straight. And it was a beautiful, insightful ritual that allowed me to start my day and delve deeper into my thoughts and desires as I navigated a huge transition period in my life. 

The benefits of this practice are vast. The process will allow you to clear the revolving ideas from your mind, open up to new ways of...

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Earth Day 2022: Mother Earth loves you. Love her back

living green Apr 22, 2022

Today is Earth Day!

As you probably know, Earth Day was founded in 1970 as a day of education about environmental issues and the holiday is now a global celebration.

1 billion people on the planet will be celebrating.  

What could be more important than taking the day (or the week) to celebrate our earth? 

Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Gaia…whatever your name for our planet is, 

Let’s honor our planet today. 

Childhood memories in rural Georgia

I’m thinking back today on how I learned to love the earth and nature. 

Growing up, I spent every weekend at my grandparent's farm in rural Georgia. 

My sister and I built playhouses outside around the farmhouse, free to roam and play outside all day. 

We fished in the pond. We walked barefoot on dusty roads, and we rode on the tailgate of my grandfather's truck singing and without a care in the world.   

My grandmother had a huge garden, growing all the vegetables for...

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8 big ways a gratitude journal can help you

journaling self-care Apr 14, 2022

I don't remember how it started exactly.

I was living in Okinawa, Japan working on a Marine Corps base as a psychotherapist. Our work was demanding and stressful.  

Right away, I realized that if I was going to make it, I'd have to do something different than getting worked up over the frustrating and unnecessary hoops we had to deal with.

So every morning as I got in my car and drove away from my home, I started thinking of the things that WERE going right. I started a list of 10 things in my head I was grateful for. 

It became a ritual. I'd drive by the ocean on the way to work (which was enough to be grateful in itself) and say 10 things I was grateful for. By the time I drove through the security gate at the base, I was grounded and ready to go to work to help the Marines I was there to help. 

Later I started writing those 10 things in my journal every day, and since then I've discovered many things about keeping a gratitude journal since...

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How to be kind to yourself: Self-Compassion

self-care self-love Apr 07, 2022

It might surprise you to hear that one of the best ways to cultivate a hopeful, optimistic outlook is to practice some radical self-compassion. 

Frequently people confuse self-compassion with self-indulgence or even selfishness. But being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others, if not more so. 

Self-Compassion Makes You More Optimistic 

Being kind to yourself means you can stop that vicious cycle of self-blame and recrimination. It prevents you from ruminating on past mistakes and builds your resilience and confidence so you can pick yourself up and get back on track. 

When you are kind and encouraging to yourself, your anxiety levels drop, your mood lifts, and you become more optimistic and hopeful about the future.

Cultivate Mindfulness To Be More Self-Compassionate

Perhaps the best way to start your self-compassion practice is to adopt a more mindful attitude to life. Mindfulness focuses on the acceptance of who you are, and where you...

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Women's Special Fall Online Weekend Retreat

Friday 25 September - Sunday 27 September

Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.