Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Speaking the Words of Your Dreams: On Being Honest With Myself About Changing Careers

This blog has been such a journey of learning to speak the words of my dreams. It strikes me that even the choice of the name, Welcoming Spirit, was the open invitation for change and love and spirit to enter my life after my divorce eight years ago. And since then, I've been intentionally changing my words, following love, choosing love, following my dreams.

My "Ten in Three" is the continuation of following those dreams, dreams I didn't know I even had eight yeas ago.

What's interesting as well is that if I'm being super honest, if I'm embracing the person I know I want to become, it truly means leaving a few things behind. One of those is my career as a Project Manager.

I'm going to admit that it's not easy to consider that role, that title, that part of me, and say "Thank you, I've enjoyed being a project manager, but it's time for us to part ways, time for me to go follow another dream." It's not easy, but I'm seeing that I'm ready to do that. To Welcome Spirit again, to move on to the next dream.

And it's even harder to admit that maybe, just maybe, one of those "Ten in Three" items is something that I don't even want to complete. But here it goes.

I no longer care about getting PMP Certified. If I'm being honest, I don't know that I EVER cared that much about it, but it did seem very much like something I "should" do. Something good project managers do.

Get this: In some late night soul searching, I realized PMP Certification was something a friend of my ex-husband used to talk about a lot. I had placed getting Certified on my "bucket list" (in the days before anyone called them that) over eight years ago, and I recognize now that it was likely part of my chasing down a romanticized version of myself, one that I thought might fit in better with my ex-husband, with his family. In those days, I got caught up in a lot of "if I just..." thinking.

In other words, I was a dream that wasn't mine, and it was something that had become such a fixture on my bucket list that I'd never reconsidered it. 

This realization put a ton of pieces together for me. My resistance to studying, my inability to focus when I do study for the exam, none of this is "like" me at all. On the other hand, I can spend hours working on blog and retreat stuff every day. My soul ignites when I study anything related to life coaching and mentoring. I lose all track of time. It is all that I want to do.

For me, it's pointing to the fact that I'm beyond ready to make a change. To work towards another dream that is exciting, full of love and compassion and courage and life. It's so close to some of the work I've done leading retreats, and yet it's something entirely new.

And so again, I'm changing my words, speaking of who I WANT to become. Not the words of fear and failure. And this is going to be freaking amazing.

"If you want to change your life, begin by changing your words. Start speaking the words of your dreams, of who want to become, not the words of fear and failure". - Robert Kiyosaki

Monday, November 10, 2014

Three Wedding Cakes: One for the Bride, One for the Groom, One for Our Son

Our wedding last month was gorgeous and wonderful, and one of the things that was super important to me was to make sure that our four year old son, Zoom was included in every way possible. Sean and I both felt strongly that in addition to our wedding being a ceremony around our commitment as a couple, this was a celebration of our family.

One of the ways we did this was with our cakes. We opted to have three cakes, one designed and by each of us! We had the wonderful experience of working our fabulous baker, Franny of Franny's Cup & Saucer in Point Arena to do this. She said it was the first time she'd every done three separate cakes for a wedding.

My cake was a gluten free almond and hazelnut with raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, and a white butter cream frosting. I asked for a design that pulled in the sand dollars from our wedding invitations, and that had fencing reminiscent of the fencing found throughout The Sea Ranch. This cake was gorgeous and delicious.

Here's that famous fencing:

Sean's cake was chocolate with a berry filling, and the design was a nod to World of Warcraft, which is yes, a video game. And, it's where we met. The cake looks a bit like the city of Darnassus, home of the Night Elves, which would be the home town of my character.

Zoom's cake was a gluten free vanilla cake with strawberries baked in. He had a cupcake like this once and loved it. He asked that he have "Lightning McQueen, Master Yoda, a rabbit, and a 'boobot'" on his cake. Boobot is his word for a robot. This cake was the hit of the party!

Photo by Matt Welch of Munkee's Eye Photography

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Sneak Peek of Our Coastal Wedding in Northern California

Three weeks ago, Sean and I got married. We chose a little town, up on the coast for the location. It's a place we love, a place we visit a lot.

We had 30 guests, eight of whom were age seven and under.  It was perfect. Such dear family and friends. We were honored that each of them could make the trip, and felt so blessed to have each of them with us for our wedding day.

Photo by Matt Welch of Munkee's Eye Photography

I wore a gunmetal gray dress by Adrianna Papell, and carried a sage and chrysanthemum bouquet. When Zoom saw my dress, he said, "Momma, you look like the ocean." I'd tried other dresses, but I knew this was the one from the second I put it on. Zoom's sweet compliment made me feel like a princess.

Photo by Matt Welch of Munkee's Eye Photography

On the way to the reception, Sean, Zoom and I took this selfie. Sheer joy. I took the picture while Sean drove.

The reception was held here, at this old Ranch house.

The magical part of this location, aside from the family, and friends, was the view. And this iconic fence. Up soon ... the amazing cakes. :)

*this post contains an affiliate link for my dress.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Recap on the Balance Retreat

Saturday was one of those wonderful, life affirming days. We had a large group of participants, so many participants!

There was a point during the day, when leading one of the sessions, that I felt so fully present and engaged. So in the moment, and so full of gratitude to be able to have the chance to be in the position I'm in. It was really cool when that moment hit me ... It's neat to be in the moment, but also have that same realization that you're totally digging what's going on and grateful to be doing it.

The day went really well, and as always, I feel like I get more than I give from leading a retreat. The big take aways for me were:
1. I should leave more room in my schedule. This is mostly around free time ... personal time, reflecting time, that kind of thing.
2. If I leave more time (and don't pack my schedule or my family's schedule completely full), it leaves moments to be present, to be fully aware with the people I love. It also leaves time for spontaneity.
3. I tend to get hung up on creating lists. When I created a list of "all of the things I'm balancing" I listed several similar things, but listed them all separately. (personal time, spiritual time, time to journal) After re-reviewing the list, it was obvious that I wanted more time to do quiet things, but I think I could consolidate those into "me time" and stop stressing that there are four things I wish I had more time for, when it's really all the same root desire.

I'll get back to making edits to my "Balance" e-course, because I think you guys will really love it, and that it will give you an interesting frame work to analyze, prioritize, embrace or abandon the things you're balancing. The participants loved it :) so I can't wait to share it!

Here are a few photos of the day.

It had rained during the morning, and San Damiano was looking lovely as we approached it:

Here is the courtyard at San Damiano Retreat in Danville, California:

And the fountain in the courtyard after lunch, when the sun had started shining.

Earl J. Rivard is a talented musician, and he provided music for our day. I'm so very honored to call him a friend, and to have been working with him over the last seven years. Brother Mike is also in this photo and I deeply appreciate his support and assistance in making it possible for our retreats to happen.

I hope you're having a great week!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Small Ways to Enforce Balance

The "Balance" retreat is just a couple of days away and I'm really enjoying immersing myself in the topic. It's been great meeting with my fellow leaders, Earl and Tammy, and we are super excited about the day.

Another thing that will be coming out of this retreat is my first e-offering. My idea at this point is to offer either an e-book that includes paired down version of the retreat itself, or to offer a week long series of emails that would send the equivalent of each session out daily for people to enjoy at their own pace. It's exciting to see how the content I've been creating can have a life in a blog-friendly format. I'm really thrilled to be able to do this! It's kind of like a Virtual Retreat!

I'm looking for a few people to review, comment, critique the content before it goes on to "Prime Time," so if you'd like to do that, please leave a comment. I have some ideas on a little present for folks that help out.

As a sneak peek, here are some ways that you can enforce balance in your daily life. This is a list of things I remind myself of as often as possible.

If you're unfamiliar with the idea of "No Toggle," here's a link to a podcast with Kristoffer Carter on The Lively Show. It's pretty much the best podcast I've heard in quite some time.

So happy Friday, and let me know if you would like preview of the Virtual Balance Retreat... :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Morning iPhone Usage, This Time with Intention

Over the past few weeks, I've had a hard time getting out the door and getting to work in a reasonable amount of time. I can make excuses, but I know that  it has to do with my routine. And due to the fact that for a long time, I've used my iPhone as my alarm clock.

But that means that all that stuff - Facebook, email, Instagram, Pinterest, all of it, is sitting just a foot from my head all night. And, when the alarm goes off, I've taken to checking each of those accounts before I do anything else each day.

Here's the brutal truth: I spend 10-15 minutes checking these accounts every morning. And it delays me from getting start on doing things that matter.

Don't get me wrong. I love social media. I want to know if anyone's emailed me. I love checking in with each of my friends and seeing what's going on with Welcoming Spirit.

But, if I'm being efficient, and if I'm being intentional with how I spend my time, social media does not need to be the first thing that I check every day. I don't even really want it to be the first thing I check every day.

I'd rather hug my new husband. Or kiss my four year old, or meditate, or make a cup of coffee, or snooze for 10 minutes. Those are things that bring me joy. Those are things that set me up for a good day, that prepare me mentally for what I need to do later.

Instead, I'd gotten in this routine of habitually checking my phone.

So over the weekend, the phone got put out in another room and I found a new alarm clock to take it's place.  It's an ugly little thing, but it works fine and it's made me feel a little more peaceful about my mornings. Nevermind the fact that I'm getting to work about 20 minutes earlier...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lean In, Maxed Out, and A Retreat About Balance

Somewhere in my spare time (ha! in between planning a wedding, studying for the PMP exam, working and spending time with my four year old), I'm also rather ironically planning a retreat about balance.

I'm obsessed with the topic, ever since my friend Stephanie and I started talking about Sheryl Sandburg's book, "Lean In." I own it, but totally have not read it. Who has time? I'm expecting to be booted off Facebook for this modern day indiscretion at any moment.

I love that there is another book that talks about the life of working mothers, the stress of trying to balance everything, and it's called "Maxed Out."

If I had to go with one of those titles to describe the state of affairs chez moi, you can bet I'd be in the Maxed Out camp. Most days I feel that I can't "Lean In" any further, even though I like my job, love my coworkers, feel passionate about what I do. And I know that at my previous job, when I was miserable, the idea of Leaning In more really would have equated to what I love to think of as a follow up companion book, "Fall Over," or  the third in the trilogy,"Burnt Out." It's a fine line, in my opinion, to give something your all, but not lose yourself (or a bit of your sanity) in the process.

But ... Balance. The real thing at stake in both books is balance. It's a topic that seems to take up a fair amount of our time, trying to find ways to live a balanced life.

So, if you're curious, I totally invite you to join myself and my fellow team members at San Damiano on October 25 for the retreat. You can learn more about it at the San Damiano website.

I'm also really pouring my heart into the topic and I think that the retreat will lend itself really nicely to my first eBook or coach offering of some sort. I'm playing with the format, but I'm planning on pulling this together in a way that other people can use it, ponder the topic, and maybe come out feeling like they understand what balance would look like for them. Exciting!