Recently I talked to my 8-year-old granddaughter, Ella, and told her that I had a dream that she would lead a retreat with me one day when she's older.
I explained to her what a retreat was and she said, “I'd love to do that.”
And then I said, "what part would you lead?"
She said “I dunno.”
And I said, “well, maybe you could remind women how to play.”
She looked at me in disbelief and said “what”?
I told her that sometimes adults forget how to play.
She looked at me as if I was from another planet.
In her little mind, not knowing how to play was incomprehensible.
That day, I realized that I, too, had forgotten how to play.
It began raining that same afternoon. Both Ella and her sister Katie ran out fully dressed and they did what kids do…relished in playing in the rain, laughing, yelling, and having the time of their lives.
For once, I...
Why do we forget that self-care is the most important thing we can do for ourselves, for our sanity, our well-being, and our health?
If it’s so important, then why aren’t we all doing everything in our power to relax, chill out, and set aside time no matter what happens?
Years ago when I was in the midst of parenting my teenage sons, I remember my coach asking me, what do you do for self-care?
It took me a few seconds to blurt out, "uh, what do you mean exactly"?
She patiently replied, "you know, how do you take care of yourself? What do you do just for yourself?"
I was totally blank.
I could not identify one thing. Because I was so busy running a household, working in a mental health clinic as well as starting my own private practice, and trying my best to be a good mom and wife.
It was a lot.
And in the process...I forgot about me.
So I began my journey of focusing on myself after that time....
Recently when I was in Hawaii, I talked to my friend, Emily Emmons, who is one of the most get-things-done kind of women I know.
She started a nonprofit called Hoʻōla Farms in 2015 to teach military veterans, first responders, their families, caregivers, and the community how to grow healthy food. With her guidance and drive, it's now grown into a farm, and a commercial kitchen, and also provides an array of training and hands-on experiences.
She has done all of this in hopes of creating a more sustainable future and well-being for all. If you're looking for a worthwhile organization to support this would be it! You can read about this amazing organization here.
Emily has been scrappy with finding money to fund all of these programs as she started with nothing back in 2015.
She knows that climate change is affecting our food supply so she's finding a way to make a difference because she cares. She knows that the...
Summer is the sweetest time for self-care. If we really listen to ourselves, we know intuitively that summer is the best time to slow down. So let's create the best self-care summer ever for ourselves.
The summer invites us all to do everything at a slower pace. It's ok to relax and be lazy sometimes.
It's a time to get away…it’s vacation time.
And…it’s the summer solstice on June 21st...the longest day of the year. We have more light to be outside, play, and watch the setting sun while it's warm.
When we take this time to take care of ourselves by letting our brains rest, our bodies relax, we create balance and we become more creative. When we slow everything down, then we can see what needs to be changed in our lives.
Last summer I took a personal self-care retreat. It was transformative.
Before leaving, I was exhausted and burned...
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?
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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
Therapists, also known as mental health...
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.
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...
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 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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