January is not my favorite month. I don't like the cold, I love and need lots of sunshine and my birthday--January 7--often brings with it an array of emotions, which often include sadness around not having my mom and dad around to tell me about the day I was born.
But with all of that, the month also brings the opportunity for reflection and contemplation about the previous year (including things that "went wrong"
) and the lessons in truth I received from the last 365 days.
My 46th year was all about expansion and growth (mostly professional), a theme I see continuing into my 47th year. This morning as I sat quietly on my yoga mat, I took some time to pause and acknowledge the many gifts I received last year, including:
These were indeed the best birthday presents ever, and as I move into the year of magic (my theme for 2013), I feel incredibly grateful to have the awareness that I get to choose how I live, love and work and continually explore new ways of being.
I wish my mom and dad were around to read my new book, but I take great comfort in knowing that their wisdom and personal journeys infuse many of its pages.
Wondering how you can work with me and my team?
- Fantastic opportunities for training and development and the reminder of how much I love to learn (thank you to all my great Montessori guides from my formative years!). I got a crash course in publishing in the new economy through signing with a new literary agent and wonderful publisher (whose clients include Eckhart Tolle!) to bring forth my newest life balance title, stretched myself to embrace new ways of working and communicating, played with new teaching methodologies, hired staff with new skill sets and will be launching a new web site in early February to better serve my clients and community.
- A new relationship with technology and being more open to how this pervasive force can be a servant to my larger purpose and mission, as opposed to becoming the master over my time. (If you get my blog regularly, you know how much I abhor being online and how I am constantly looking for ways I can be more unplugged; read more.) Thanks Jen Lemen for being one of my teachers in this arena!
- Being reminded of the power of friendships (read more) and how essential it is for me as a big extrovert and one who needs lots of time to play, to make sure I have belly time with girlfriends who nurture me stays near the top of my self-care list. I have also been reminded of how interconnected we all are through my many new heart-centered friendships with "sisters" who live thousands of miles away--this has been like finding hundred dollar bills at the bottom of my sock drawer!
- The revelation that even though I have been teaching (and practicing) self-acceptance and the power that can come from our willingness to be vulnerable, for years, I still have a loooonnng way to go. (Nothing like putting on your auto responder on for months at a time, dedicating thousands of hours to a new book and stretching yourself to your limit professionally, spiritually and financially to have this revealed!). Holding it together is extremely overrated --read more.
- A deeper understanding of the unbelievable wisdom and power of the BODY! I've always been a fan of somatic (body-centered) coaching, but having delved more deeply into this realm in 2012--including training with yoga and mood guru Amy Weintraub and become a certified Level I iRest Yoga Nidra teacher through Richard Miller-- I'm convinced more than ever that 100% of us would experience profound life-changing shifts if we spent more time connecting with our breath, building in time for conscious movement (qi gong, yoga, mindful walks, etc.), befriending our magical, amazing bodies and understanding that every day we get to spend in them is a gift beyond words.
- The realization that I'm not as direct as I thought I was and how much energy we waste when we don't say exactly what we mean, need and feel. It's amazing how much bandwidth is freed up when we practice totally direct (sometimes radical) honesty with ourselves and others. One of my favorite questions from 2012 I've been asking myself and my retreat attendees is, "What truth about ________(fill in the blank)_______am I refusing to hear--or see?"
- The wisdom that as I move into the second half of my life, I am much more interested in who I want to be in the world than what I want to do or accomplish. We just returned from my mother-in-law's funeral services in MA. My husband, son and I stood in line with the rest of his family at the wake for more than 3 hours straight to receive condolences from hundreds of family, friends, community members and fans of Mary Margaret Trudeau's from around the state. They shared how she always took time to stop and talk to them, to hear about their life and to connect. In our family, when we start doing the to-do list tango, we often pause and remind each other, "People first, things second." I'm now sitting quietly with what this looks like for me as I explore who I want to "be" in the second half of my life.
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Photo: The lotus garden outside of the meditation room at Omega Institute. I attended family week there with my son in August (amazing) and hope to be teaching there next year. Another wonderful gift from 2012!
- Join or become certified to facilitate Personal Renewal Groups and retreats for women (our introductory price ends Jan. 31st--learn more)
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As a life balance teacher, I'm always questioning how I can help myself and others come into greater equilibrium--not just around work and life, but around feeling and thinking, being and doing, and giving and receiving.
Yesterday morning I found myself standing in my front doorway staring out at a beautiful oak tree. Bathed in sunlight, I held a cup of lemon ginger tea in one hand and my to-do list in the other.
I was waiting for a friend that I was helping out of a financial jam, and beginning to wonder how crucial this hot list of tasks I was holding--that had seemed so important earlier in the day--really were.
The moment felt big and pregnant (ever have those?) and I had the strong sensation that I was being asked to stop everything … and become present to what life was trying to tell me.
Over the last few days, I’ve been surrounded by close friends and dear acquaintances who are struggling with big stuff. Life or death stuff. Fork in the road stuff. Questions that don’t have easy or quick answers stuff.
One of my son’s teachers lost her 19 year-old son in a fatal car accident right before Thanksgiving (this touched me deeply as my brother was the same age when he died). A close colleague is struggling financially to pay even her basic bills. Another friend has been battling depression and is in limbo around her life purpose and direction. One of my childhood friends is navigating the holidays with her kids after the loss of her husband 5 months ago. Another dear friend, a mother to two young kids, is working herself to the bone and having a hard time seeing a way out of a never ending cycle of overwork.
Standing here, frozen in this moment, I'm racked with the questions, "What can I do? How can I best help?" And as I write personal notes to them, leave messages and emails, offer prayers and resources--I'm reminded that this work, however small and insignificant it may feel--is more important than any task, deadline or to-do. Being here for each other is the most important thing there is.
So my prayer as I move through December--a time when we're all a bit more tender--is “Guide me how to best serve and help my brothers and sisters who are in my life right now." Because we don't have to go to Africa or a low-income area or a disadvantaged school to find people in need.
Help is needed right here, right now and often those whose paths we cross daily are hurting and in dire need of a kind word or deed. But unless we drop the "Gotta get it done" mentality long enough to be fully present and *really* see those around us, we'll miss the call for help altogether. Like I almost did this past week.
Have you heard about the I CHOOSE LOVE public service campaign? It's a reminder that when we come from love--one of the most powerful yet underutilized forces on the planet--we have the ability to transcend fear and remember what we're really hear to do: give and receive love. Learn more and order a tshirt (at cost).
I love to hear from, connect with and meet Live Inside Out readers at our events. I invite you to:
- Find Your Tribe: Join or learn to facilitate Personal Renewal Groups for women
- Attend a retreat/event this spring or hire Renee to create one for your group
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- Pick up my life balance title The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal from the library or buy it here or at your local bookstore
- Read past issues of my Life Balance newsletter or Career Management newsletter
- Take Action: Contact one of our career or life balance coaches for 1-on-1 support; receive an initial complimentary consultation
- Empower Others: Schedule Renee for a private workshop or retreat for your company or organization
- Subscribe to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog about coach/author/speaker Renee Trudeau’s personal journey to creating balance from the inside out.
Note: this post was modified from a post that ran in December 2011. It felt especially timely right now.