Could Self Judgment Be Holding You Back from Success?

Research says yes.

I bet when you think of all the things that might be holding you back from attaining the life you desire –career, relationship, love, friendships, support, health, creativity, finances, etc.– you don’t automatically put self judgment at the top of your list.

Critical Reflections by Kristin Halberg

In fact, many high achieving people, perfectionists included, think that negative self talk is beneficial.

But the research shows a different story:

“The #1 barrier [to a willingness to learn how to release self judgment and learn] self-compassion is fear of being complacent and losing your edge. And all the research shows that’s not true. It’s just the opposite,” 

Dr. Kristin Neff, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin

In fact, according to Dr. Neff, there are five myths about self-compassion that keep us stuck in the negative mindset loop.

  1. Self-compassion is a form of self pity. ➡️ The research shows that compassion and pity are actually near enemies. Pity is a form of separation, while compassion allows us to see ourselves and all of humanity as imperfect evolving beings.
  2. Self-compassion is a sign of weakness. ➡️ The research shows that self-compassion leads to higher levels of resilience, inner strength, and achievement.
  3. Self-compassion will lead to self-indulgence. ➡️ The research shows that replacing self-judgment with self-compassion is actually linked to healthier behaviors.
  4. Self-compassion is selfish. ➡️ Research shows that self-compassionate people have more concern for and are more caring and supportive and forgiving … and that this is reciprocated in their relationships.
  5. Self-compassion will undermine my motivation ➡️ The research shows that self-compassion is actually linked to higher motivation. Our personal standards remain high but we have less fear of failure and more grit and determination to succeed.

Let’s look at another researcher:

“Self-criticism can take a toll on our minds and bodies. It can lead to ruminative thoughts that interfere with our productivity, and it can impact our bodies by stimulating inflammatory mechanisms that lead to chronic illness and accelerate aging.” 

–Dr. Richard Davidson, founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Does that sound like something you want in your life?

Choose to interrupt those negative patterns and replace them with a new soundtrack.

Join me in the month of March for a 30-Day Self Judgment Detox Challenge.

Valued at $97, $27 will get you in … but only for a limited time.

This challenge will guide you through:

  • A six step detox process
  • Four + practices to honor and release old wounds
  • Meditations and creative practices for healing old stories
  • Self forgiveness
  • The principles of self-compassion

You will get:

  • Bi-weekly emails with specific instruction to help you detox from your self-judgment loop
  • Made for you matrixes and journal prompts to help you track your journey
  • Encouragement and inspiration
  • Optional Bonus: Personal check-ins from me via email or text

We start March 1st.

Learn more.

Today is the International Day of Self Love

It’s Valentines week … how are you feeling?

Personally, I’ve always had a love / hate relationship with Valentine’s Day … here’s where it started:

When I was in the 4th grade, I had a huge crush on this new dark haired boy in my class named Daniel.

I’d like to tell you that it was because he was kind, or brilliant, or the best speller in the class. But honestly, it was just because he was new, and I thought he was cute. And maybe because he was shy, and that seemed sweet.

I kept my feelings hidden to anyone but myself and my best friend Sherry –who liked him too– for months. We both spent many a daydream sitting by him in class, hanging out with him at recess, and other acts of 4th grade love.

Finally, on Valentine’s Day, we decided to reveal our secret crushes.

I scrutinized my entire box of Valentine’s cards to find the perfect phrase — one that said “I really like you a LOT” but that could also pass for just an average valentine’s card in case I needed to save face.

Valentines cards circa 1970's
1970’s Valentine Card examples

Probably something like one of these:

Next, I spent days agonizing over whether or not to sign my name or to be anonymous.

In a big burst of courage, Sherry decided she was going to sign her name to her card, so I was encouraged to risk it too. And then just to be certain he knew it was a special card for a special person, I also added a handful of cut out hearts inside the envelope.

Crescent School 4th Grade www.thedreamhatchery.com
4th Grade Class Photo. I’m the one in the far back right side. Sherry is on the bottom, far right. Daniel is right next to her.

Man. I still remember the breathless anticipation of waiting for acknowledgement… in vain … inspecting each of the valentines I received … breathlessly anticipating one with his signature. … Nothing!

And then the masterfully orchestrated denial that fell into place …. First, I convinced myself he hadn’t given valentines to anyone.

And then, once I knew I’d been dissed after Sherry reluctantly showed me her card (with such grace and genuine sadness for me, and no gloating at all)  she suggested that his card to me must have fallen out and been accidentally thrown away by the janitor.

Because that’s the kind of friend she was.

My second major Valentine’s Day memory is from years later, when I was a junior in high school. I was the publicity manager of our student council, and that year we decided to sell carnations as a fund raiser.

By lunch time, it felt like everyone in the school had received a carnation –except me!

I was pretty forlorn and feeling sorry for myself, and my best friend Sherry had transferred to another school, so there was no one there to convince me my carnation had been dropped and accidentally thrown away by the janitor.

Just when I was ready to throw myself off the second floor balcony, the delivery person handed me a pink carnation –for friendship– from one of my guy friends.

I will never forget that small kindness.

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Let’s pause for a moment to consider …

It’s wonderful to have amazing friends who will either help you concoct the perfect face saving excuse when you didn’t get that valentine from the boy you liked, or that interview … or that second date, or whatever.

Or one who will supply you with exactly the encouragement you need at exactly the right time … whether that comes in the form of a pink carnation or a beautifully selected card, or simply kind words on a rough day.

I wish those kinds of friendships for you. Always.

But …

Wouldn’t it also be amazing if you could always be that kind of friend … to YOURSELF?

Here’s a little quiz for you:

https://www.thedreamhatchery.com/self-judgment-detox.html
What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror?
  1. Do you often call yourself names (like dummy or stupid or ugly or fat)?
  2. How often do you treat yourself with sarcasm?
  3. Do you criticize yourself frequently?
  4. Do you always say kind things to yourself when you look in the mirror?
  5. Do you isolate yourself when you’re feeling most down?
  6. When you’re having a bad day, do you obsess or fixate on everything that’s going wrong?
  7. How do you treat yourself when you’re going through pain?
  8. When you’re feeling inadequate about something, do you compare yourself to everyone else who seems to be better at it than you are?
  9. How do you treat the parts of yourself that you don’t like?
  10. When something painful happens, do you find yourself thinking about it over and over?

Based on your answers above, if YOU were your own best friend, would you even hang out with yourself?

For most women, the answer is no. And if someone was treating OUR best friend the way we treat ourselves, we’d tell them to end that friendship immediately. Right?

Even if not all of your answers to the questions were terrible, I bet there is still room for improvement, am I right?

So what can you do to practice being a better friend to yourself?

Join me in March for a 30-Day Self Judgment Detox.

This $27 mini-course will teach you:

https://www.thedreamhatchery.com/self-judgment-detox.html
Join the Self Judgment Detox Challenge and be a better friend to yourself.
  • A six step process to detox from judgment
  • Four + practices to honor and release old wounds
  • Meditations and creative practices for emancipating old stories
  • How to finally forgive yourself
  • Lessons in becoming a best friend to yourself

You will get:

  • Bi-weekly emails with specific instruction over 30 days
  • Made for you matrixes to help you track your journey
  • Encouragement and inspiration along the way

Interested? Know someone else who might be?

Sign up now by clicking this link.

Challenge begins March 1st.

“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” –Brene’ Brown

I Quit

Did that grab your attention?

I read a book this week (written about five years ago) that said that we have a NINE SECOND attention span before we succumb to distraction. I bet it’s down to five now.

😂

(Ha ha. Are you still here?)

Culture Shaper Fairy

Then, I read an article that pointed out that WE (you and me, all of us) have the power to create change, especially in our culture in our interactions with each other, with friends and family members, with power and authority, online and professionally, in our businesses and our platforms. We can interrupt the cultural norms we don’t consent to, and we can create new ones. This wasn’t new to me, as it’s been an evolving part of my manifesto for years, but I liked the way the article was worded.)

Have you ever thought of yourself as a culture shaper?

When I was first learning the HeartMath tools (ask me more) I took a year long program called Heart Mastery, which taught me how to apply the basic tools to all the aspects of my life in order to live a more Heart Centered life. In one of those classes, we talked about the power –and the value of– our ATTENTION.

I’m writing this just days before the Super Bowl, so it’s very relevant. Guess how much it costs to run a 30-second ad? I wish I could make you guess a couple times before I just tell you, but:  $5.6 million for a 30-second slot!! Crazy, isn’t it? That’s how much your attention is worth.

50 years of super bowl ads cost

Think of that the next time you’re deciding what to do with it.

It’s true that we place more value on the things we pay for … and WE certainly don’t value our own attention that much, do we? That’s why it’s so easy to get distracted from the Things We Really Want To Do.

So this year, I quit a few things:

  • I quit binging shows on Netflix … and prioritized my “to-do” list instead.
  • I quit my negative self – talk. (Or at least cut it waaaaay back … ) My new mantra is “everything is figuroutable” –thanks Marie*.)
  • I quit isolating myself … and prioritized my friendships and connections instead.
  • I quit ignoring my inner wisdom and depreciating my woo* … and had some major break throughs just this week.

It’s your turn:

What things are you ready to quit this year? What will you do with your time and attention instead? Let me know!

A Christmas Tale for You

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday afternoon, Justin and I went to Christmas Eve Mass with my mom, my sister, and her family. 

As is my practice since I was a kid, I zoned out during Father’s sermon. I have a special gift for this. Apparently, I’m so good at it that the priest generally thinks I’m paying rapt attention. (I know this because one of my favorite priests from my teen years told my parents he enjoyed giving his sermons when I was there because he could tell I paid avid attention. Ha ha. Not.) It’s my time during Mass when I allow my imagination to float away on its own. Who knows how many realms I’ve traveled during those sermons over the years.

Yesterday, I looked up at the mural of angels surrounding Mary, and began imagining myself into that scene, which reminded me of one of the spiritual practices I learned from Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. (See, I told you you’d be hearing more about this!) This practice is officially called Ignatian Contemplation. (You can learn more about Ignatian Spirituality here. Or under Resources in Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.) Vanessa and Casper (hosts of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text) tend to adapt the official practices a bit, which I love. In this practice, they invite you to enter the text through the eyes of any character you choose. 

I decided to imagine myself into the gospel reading — the one you all probably know, from Luke, that begins “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken …” And then takes you through most of the characters and scenes you associate with the birth of Christ, from the angels in the sky to the shepherds in the fields, and into the stable with the animals, Mary, Jesus and Joseph. 

I decided to imagine myself into the story, first as a shepherd, then as Mary. Before I could imagine any other characters, the congregation chuckled at Father’s second joke, which I missed entirely. (I was disappointed, actually, because the first one was pretty good.) So I popped back into the real world.

But, the practice made me feel more present to and added back a new level of sacredness to the story of Christmas that surprised me. 

I thought as it was appropriate for Christmas, I would invite you to do the same, and give you a taste for yourself of one of the reasons I get so much out of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.

Sacred Imagination Practice

Step One: Choose any character you like. You can even choose other well-known characters not mentioned specifically in the text, such as the Wise Men or the Little Drummer Boy … or even imagine that you time-traveled and found yourself there as an invisible spectator.

Step Two: Once you have selected the character you wish to imagine yourself into, close your eyes and listen to the text. (I’ve recorded it here for your convenience.) Imagine yourself into the scene using all of your senses and emotions. What do you smell, taste, touch, see, hear, feel?

Step Three: Listen to it once more with the same practice. You can either switch up your character, or go a little deeper into the first character’s perspective.

Step Four: (Optional) In a true gospel contemplation, you would finish by speaking person to person to Christ, saying what comes from your heart.

I’d love to know how this went for you. What character did you choose? Did this make the scripture come to life for you in a way it hadn’t before? Did it change the way you relate to this well-known story?

Hope your final days of 2019 are wonderful.

Much love,

Kristin

PS) Looking for a beautiful way to set intentions and create a plan for 2020? 

  • Purchase one of Danielle LaPorte’s books or planners and go for the deep dive, infusing your goals and intentions for the year with how you want to FEEL first and foremost. 
  • Listen to Marie Forleo’s Decade in Review exercises.
  • Or follow along as I guide you through a sensory meditation. (Use discount code MerryChristmas at checkout.

Happy Winter Solstice

Happy Solstice!

Perfect timing for me. I’m sooo ready to welcome in the light and relinquish the dark. 

Winter Solstice
Yuletide Greetings!

I was going to try to host one of my mini-retreats for you today, but as has been this year’s “normal,” that intention did not get off the ground in the way I’d hoped.

Speaking of this year’s “normal,” up until a month ago, if anyone asked me about my year this year, my answer was “it has been a hard year.” I would have said that my overall feelings this year were sad and depressed, and that my lesson was failure.

But then, (for the second year in a row for me) I started working through Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map process.* 

I started the process last month by answering the question, “what were the highlights of the past year?” In my head, before putting pen to page, I started with all the negatives … Josh’s death, nothing from my business got off the ground, I even found myself being cynical during the valedictorian speech at my oldest two nephews HS graduation(!!) which would ordinarily –any other year– fill me with hope in the future. My overall “corde desired feeling” words from The Desire Map process last year were supposed to be “vibrant, rooted, and blooming” and I did NOT feel the year went that way. 

In fact, most of the time I felt like a big fat failure … with an inability to fix ANY of it.

But … when I put all that negativity aside for the purpose of introspection, and answered the question with the emphasis on word # 2, “what WERE the highlights of 2019?” a whole new side to the year sprouted forth. I realized that, in fact, although I may not have felt vibrant or blooming, I rooted in a LOT. As part of my grieving process, I gave myself permission to feel sad and depressed. I gave myself permission to binge on fantasy Netflix and unabashedly enjoyed getting caught up on ALL the Marvel Comics series. (Not surprisingly, Jessica Jones with her cynical but save the world outlook was my overall fave.) 

With that as inspiration, I gave myself permission to be angry and even cynical. I gave myself permission to be unsuccessful in my work and –even more heretical –to not even bother to try after some more sad news in May rocked my world again. 

Because it was one of the few things that made me feel good, I also prioritized my extended family. I drove one niece to and from club volleyball practices every other week for several months (2 hours each way) and picked up another niece after school a few times. Justin and I worked on renovating my brother’s rental home all summer. I assuaged my disappointment that my backpacking pilgrimage didn’t sell well by backpacking the High Divide with some nieces and two other brothers. I went to my cousin’s daughter’s wedding.

The Desire Map process helped me discover that even though the year was hard, I grew through it. In fact, I rooted in. Strong and deep roots, of course, are important for a plant to be vibrant and blooming.  

Rooting …

And when (this Fall) I started to feel like taking action in my life again, I knocked off a whole list of things I had been “tolerating” … from painting the exterior of our house to cleaning some of the rooms that still had junk from past house occupants, even getting my teeth cleaned and scheduling that physical I was procrastinating on.  

And truthfully, I feel the difference. I feel more honest and true to my whole self. I feel more deeply connected to –and even tender toward– my shadow side. And as a result, I’m beginning to feel that old revolutionary spirit gather strength and courage in my root chakra.

And instead of blindly following instructions, doing it exactly the way it was explained, I found myself taking The Desire Map process deeper and eliminating pieces that didn’t work for me. In other words, making it my own.

Which means I’ve got my mojo back. ❤

And so, today, on Winter Solstice, the day filled with the powerful energy of regeneration, renewal, and self-reflection. The day we celebrate the Moon Goddess, I invite you to join me in introspection, not just of the past year, but of the past decade.

You can do this via purchasing one of Danielle LaPorte’s books or planners and going for the deep dive her way. Listening to Marie Forleo’s Decade in Review exercises.

Or, click here to participate in my winter solstice retreat from bygone days for FREE. You’ll be taken on a guided meditation, participate in a creative writing exercise, and welcome back the light. Use code wintersolstice2019 at checkout.

* [If you’ve never heard of The Desire Map, or Danielle LaPorte, she is a bestselling Canadian author, inspirational speaker, entrepreneur, and blogger. Her book, The Desire Map, was published in 2014. To be honest, when it first came out I was just annoyed that she beat me to it. By then I’d been working with clients on flip flopping their lives to align with their desired feelings for just over two years, and had seen some amazing results. It took me a few years before I finally decided to see what all the hype was about. 

As I worked through the process for the second time, I decided I love The Desire Map process so much I decided to become an affiliate. This means that if you click through using my link and decide to purchase any of her products, I get a commission. No extra cost to you, bonus for me. Bonus for both of us, actually, because you get a great planning process too. And if you organize in fits and starts, like me, there are several undated versions to choose from as well.

I still wish I’d written the book first, but oh well. Commissions are nice too, and we share a passion for beautiful things and living from our heart.] 

What I’m loving right now (that you will probably hear more about in 2020:)

  • Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast
  • Effy Wild Book of Days course. Can’t WAIT for the official start. I’m especially excited about the companion sweet trash journal. And maybe (if it doesn’t feel overwhelming) Moonshine.
  • And of course, although I have to seek these out because I don’t catch them elsewhere, the best Holiday Ads. Which one is your favorite?

Reply to let me know which ad was your favorite of if you already ARE a Harry Potter and the Sacred Text fan, or if you had a year you thought was sh*t only to discover the magick was underground the whole time.

Hope your holidays are delightful.

Much love,

Kristin

Powering through the summer ritual of procrastination

(A version of this post was originally published in the July 2018 version of Healthy Families, produced by Peninsula Daily News.)

By now, summer is winding down. Most likely, whether you are aware of it or not, your family rituals are too. Historically for me, summer rituals revolved around time on the water. I had the privilege of growing up on Lake Crescent. We played in and on the water nearly every day of summer vacation, tirelessly jumping off the dock, challenging our balance by standing and floating on our old black inner tubes, swimming, and making up various imaginative water games. As a teen ager, I mixed these in with voraciously reading our entire library and writing snail mail letters to my pen pals while sun bathing on our floating dock. As an adult, these moments are mixed in with the responsibilities of work, and caring for my garden.

What are your summer rituals?

Whether or not we’re aware of our rituals, we all have them. But much of the time we throw ourselves into the busy activities of summer, one day following another until we’re surprised that it’s suddenly time for back to school shopping and summer is almost over. We procrastinate on the tasks of summer we don’t enjoy, try to cram a few more fun summer activities in to the days remaining and wind up feeling overwhelmed by all the tasks we put off.

This summer I invite you to consider a more contemplative approach to your remaining summer days.

Part I: Identify and Savor

20180805_105225725800499.jpgStop right now, go outside, and look around you at the natural bounty of the summer season. What sights and sounds signal to you that it’s still summer rather than another season of the year? If you grew up in a different part of the country, what summer experiences from your childhood do you miss or are happy to have left behind? What are your favorite sensory experiences of summer? Take the time to name your favorite ways to experience the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and felt sensations of summer. To make this a family activity, coax your family to share their favorites over a meal.

Once you’ve taken time to identify your favorite sensory experiences of summer, I invite you to savor those moments, and allow them to stretch your imagination and your sense of time. Instead of rushing to clear the table or wash the dishes or check your phone after a meal, linger over your dinner conversations like the light continues to linger in the sky.

Part II: Free Your Mental Energy

Now think of a task that is part of your summer ritual of procrastination. If you were to complete this task, would it give you more peace of mind and free you up to enjoy the moments left? What larger purpose / goal is this task a part of? How might you tackle this task in a way that plays to your strengths and values, clears your mind from the nagging guilt of procrastination, and accomplishes the larger goal this task represents?

For example: one of the things I love about spring is planting a garden. I love watching the sprouts shoot up like magic. 20180815_0723241774345224.jpgHowever, the task of summer weeding seems like it never ends, and as a result in the past I’ve often neglected my garden, choosing to ignore it rather than tend it, trying to cram more fun water activities into my summer at the expense of my garden, even though one of my favorite sensory experiences of summer is the taste of fresh vegetables and the sights and sounds of wildlife in my yard.

This year, after intentionally developing my spiritual apprenticeship to nature, instead of avoiding this chore, I tapped into my natural strengths of curiosity and wonder, set the goal of creating a wildlife friendly organic garden, and broke the weeding down into bite-sized chunks. vegetable gardenThat is, rather than looking at the overwhelming task of weeding my entire garden every day, I focus on a couple square feet, mindfully noticing more about that small area. How is the soil? What insects did I uncover? Are they beneficial? What can I do to keep them happy? If they’re pests, how can I get rid of them organically?

Practicing this mindful tending of my garden, and looking for ways I can cultivate my strengths and values has given me a deeper appreciation for the abundance of wildlife my garden attracts,

walk way with garden
One of my garden spots

and expanded my knowledge of organic gardening. Now, when I look at my garden, instead of seeing it as a pile of work that still needs to be done, I take pride in the variety of butterflies flitting from flower to flower, the garter snakes helping me save my plants from slugs, the brightly colored flowers waving in the breeze, and the delicious summer vegetable crop interspersed amongst the flowers and herbs.

Part III: Reflection

When you appreciate and savor the aspects of summer you love, and tackle the tasks that keep you from fully enjoying the moment, you are invited into a more mindful way of experiencing the ordinary, and more opportunities for grace.

What are some of your tips and techniques for capturing the moments? What summer tasks do you usually procrastinate on? How can you tap into your own strengths and values to get those tasks done?

My Wild Year

For those who didn’t hear before, 2017 was an unusual year. My dad passed away very unexpectedly on January 6th, 2017. My partner’s dad died –also a bit unexpectedly, although he had been sick– a few weeks prior to that, and my favorite cousin’s mom (my aunt) passed away a few weeks before that. After my dad’s funeral service, as a bit of a break from our ordinary lives, and to help my cousin remodel her mom’s home to use as a rental, Justin and I spent the better part of three months in California in early 2017. A few months after we returned, we held the service for his dad, and just a few weeks after that his grandmother passed away.

In late summer, just as we were settling back in to our routine, we found out –a bit dramatically, but that’s a story for another time– that we had to move out of the home we’d been living in for five years. We weighed our options, and decided to move into what had been his grandmother’s home, this log cabin (see photo below) originally built in 1893.

Bottom line, 2017 was very transitional and hard to predict …  very much like a walk-about pilgrimage. (A walk-about pilgrimage is a journey we go on simply by virtue of the –often sudden– unpredictability of our lives.)

At the beginning of 2018, my internal GPS (what I call my Wise Self) kept telling me to slow down, breathe deep, take a nap, relax, listen, connect to my self, my place, my new home … and allow myself the luxury to take a break from the need to chase down clients, or plan workshops & retreats. My underlying counter-voice kept saying, “you already took a year off! If you don’t get out there and DO stuff (market) you won’t get clients. And if you don’t get clients you won’t get paid!”

I chose to listen to my Wise Self. Although sometimes –I’ll admit– I wasn’t sure it was her, and I did host a workshop and attend a couple of local marketing events.

Finally, towards the end of April, when I pulled a card from my Oracle deck that once again said, “Take a Nap” when I asked about marketing my business, I decided to call my year a sabbatical.

A sabbatical is most common in academic vocations, but the concept of sabbatical originated in farming. It means to allow the land to remain fallow, to let it go wild for a year.

My Wild Year so far

In the process of “going wild”, I’ve been rooting into my self and my place and without even knowing it at the time, working on the practices of belonging, and awakening to the ancient Earth consciousness inside me.

The first task of moving in was to clear a space for us. We had to be completely out of our old place by Thanksgiving, and before we could move in here there were a few things that had to be done. We painted the press board ceilings white, gave away or sold the furnishings we weren’t going to use, built some beautiful rustic book cases, and sorted through, cleared, or stored decades of Grandma Beverly’s personal belongings. My partner kept saying, “get rid of everything” and my sister-in-law kept saying, “don’t get rid of anything without talking to me first.” Somehow we managed to make room for ourselves and keep the peace.

Come spring, my # 1 priority has been to cultivate my garden spaces. Justin’s grandma loved to garden, so the base of the garden was already in place. But it was overgrown with grass and weeds because her health (at 93) kept her from doing as much as she used to do. I mulched it heavily last winter with cardboard and leaves from our Norwegian Maple, but that wasn’t enough to kill all the grass.

I hate to weed, so I decided that I would tap into my strengths rather than my weaknesses this year. Rather than feeling the pressure to reclaim the entire garden, I decided that I would work on it a section at a time. My overall plan for the garden is to make it a wildlife sanctuary and Kristin-variety cottage garden … lots of indigenous wild flowers mixed in with roses, my favorite vegetables, herbs and Grandma Beverly’s perennials, plus a few of my own favorites.

One of my strengths is a love of learning, so to tap into that love, I decided to learn which plants have a symbiotic relationship with one another (like tomatoes, basil, carrots, & garlic for example.) I decided to learn the names of the bugs I discover in the soil and understand which ones are beneficial and which aren’t. And I decided to learn how to garden completely organically, with my own compost, beneficial nematodes, and by attracting wild life “critters” that help keep the bad bugs away.[Did you know that snakes, lizards and beetles eat slugs?!]

In the midst of all that yard work, June, and my Greece retreat snuck up on me. I signed up for the Greece Goddess Pilgrimage retreat in November, right in the middle of our move. The description said, “come journey with us to the Greek Island of Tinos, for an empowering and creative nine-day sacred Yoga and Art retreat.” I said, “I’m in.”

I communed with the land, the Aegean Sea, and Greek goddesses, did lots of art and a little bit of yoga, and made connections with like-hearted women from all over the US, Greece, the UK and Australia.

My intention for the trip was to make an even deeper connection with myself and my work … while also connecting more deeply with Mother Earth and her infinite wisdom. While there, I read the book Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, by Toko-Pa Turner, a Canadian writer, teacher and dreamworker, who lives on a small island in the Salish Sea. (My neighbor!!) From her I integrated the knowledge that belonging is a practice … and one that I was already intuitively immersed in!

My take-aways from this pilgrimage journey / art retreat / goddess retreat were:

  1. I am an artist. Or rather, an artist and creative activist. I knew this before, of course, but the process of indulging in art for fourteen days helped me feel it.
  2. I am also a writer. And part of my calling as a creative activist is to write. This is not new knowledge either, but as of now I am officially writing my first book, tentatively called “A Field Guide to Practical Magic: 21 Days to Connect with Your Wise Self”  …. or something like that!
  3. I’m being called to call women back to their wild roots, to apprentice themselves to Nature and their own shadow, and to reconnect to and express beauty and their own Wild and Wise Soul.

Going forward, my work will more deeply reflect these three things. (To learn more about my work, you can follow my page on Facebook or visit my website.)

Serendipitous Treasures

Since I’m on the topic of serendipity, I became reacquainted with my partner through yet another funeral, back in 2007. The funeral was for the older brother universe soul matesof classmates of ours, and there were many people there that we knew.  At the time I arrived, he was heading out the back door with an elderly woman.  He smiled and waved, and although I knew he was someone I used to know in school, I couldn’t place him.  I sent his face through my mental facial recognition software and came up blank, but I have to admit that I was never was able to fully forget him either.

Finally, months later, he sent me a Facebook friend request, saying that he thought he’d seen me at that funeral. Oh! Of course! It clicked into place for me.  The elderly woman he was solicitously escorting out the door and into a silver Mercedes was his grandmother. When he contacted me, he was living in Mexico, caring for his mother’s property, and was with someone else so I put him out of my mind except when Facebook did its thing.

Several years later, he reached out to say he was back in town, and would I like to meet for a beer? And the rest, as they say, is history. This is what he looked like when I graduated from high school, and again when I met up with him in 2011.

Justin then and now
Is it any wonder I didn’t recognize him right away?

How has synchronicity shown up in your life? Do you have a favorite story of unexpected treasure popping up when you were least looking for it? Please feel free to share in the comments.  It’s fun to hear other’s stories!

What’s in a name?

In my first blog post, I hinted at my new name & business branding … Since re-branding a business is not something you should do lightly, I thought I’d give you a little more information about why I am …

To start with KIC (pronounced “kick”) itself has been an evolution … I first claimed the name KIC about ten yearKIC_Label_As ago, when I left my corporate job and decided to branch out for myself, uncertain yet what form that would take.  K-I-C are my maternal grandmother’s initials, and I wanted a business that would honor her.  I delighted in both the brainstorming and choosing of my first logo, wanting it to both represent something meaningful to me and something that might speak to my potential client.  I still like both the logo and the name, but I’ve learned over the years that choosing a name that gives prospective customers a hint about what you do is important. At first, I simply added Healing to the name … KIC Coaching & Healing seemed a little more explanatory, and the simplest way to tackle the problem.

I also noticed over the years (because I occasionally get requests that seem to be out of my expertise entirely) that there is another company out there in the world that calls themselves KIC Coaching.  It’s a GRE coaching company located in Mumbai.  Lately they must be pouring money into their Site Engine Optimization (SEO) because they’ve been encroaching on my google traffic. For a small business … or any business … this is not good news.  As much as we hate to rely on Google for our traffic, we do.

The combination of knowing that KIC Coaching does not tell you intuitively that I am a transformational coach, and the recent encroachment on my space helped spur along my need.  But I also knew I wanted to branch out and offer more than just coaching … I wanted to offer other transformative experiences such as Pilgrimages, Retreats, and more.  I wanted a name that didn’t limit me to coaching.

I’ve been playing with business name ideas for about a year, but nothing seemed quite right.  Soon after Prince passed away, I was out on a walk.  I didn’t follow Prince’s life or work closely while he was alive (although of course I knew his most widely known songs), but this clip of Prince with the Muppets delighted me.  I love to see the creative process at work, and I am wowed by people who can effortlessly turn anything into artistic expression.

I also completely believe in asking people I admire (living or dead) for advice.  So I called out to Prince (in my head640px-Prince_at_Coachella-630x390), telling him I was sorry I didn’t follow his work more when he was still alive, (this was a longer conversation than I’m including here, filled with justifications and pleas for mercy … ha ha!)  explaining my post-humus admiration and asking if he’d help me come up with a business name I liked that was relevant to the work I do.  In my head he asked me for a bit more information about my work, about my dreams, and about icons that were meaningful.

A few minutes later, The Dream Hatchery popped into my head, and I loved it.  I give Prince all the credit.  🙂  Thanks!  (I also promised to purchase at least a few of his songs for my iPod.  If anyone has recommendations of their favorite Prince songs (ideally that showcase his brilliant creativity) feel free to post in the comments.

Creative Tip:  Stuck on a project?  Think of five people who you admire,  living or dead, and ask them to give you advice.  Don’t be surprised when you get a brilliant idea.  Be sure to thank them for their help.  🙂