Mindful Happiness

Mindful Happiness

The pursuit of happiness has long been the goal of humankind. But, what is happiness?  For us, it could be a feeling of calm and security. For others, it may be a feeling of success on a professional and/or personal front. Happiness is truly subjective! One of the keys to unlocking the path to being happy is to practice mindful happiness.

Mindfulness is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as, “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” So how does mindfulness increase our feelings of happiness?

By utilizing the power of awareness of the present moment, we allow ourselves the opportunity to connect with our heart, mind, body, and spirit with crystal clear transparency. When we allow our thoughts to be focused on the “now,” we invite our clarity to serve as a compass, guiding us toward the happiness that may have eluded us in the past.

When practicing mindfulness, we pay close attention to the signals that our bodies are sending us, those pangs of guilt, shame, regret, and learning to bless and release them through allowing those signals to remind us that we are a work in progress. Through the mindfulness practice of breathwork, we empower our bodies to cleanse some of the adverse biological reactions that our bodies and minds have created in reaction to our perception of the lack of happiness. 

Mindfulness is a skill that takes practice! Our bodies and minds have a natural tendency to fight stillness. If you have tried meditation and find your mind racing with that list of “to-dos” or constant distraction, it’s not your fault! Our brains are designed to be the operating system that we rely on both consciously and subconsciously. Taking some small steps in quieting your mind will lead to training your brain to power down temporarily. Here are some steps to try when working on quieting the mind:

  1. Find a space that will allow you solitude and quiet
  2. Start with an intention of a short time period, perhaps 5 minutes. You can always increase this as you increase your skill level!
  3. Pay attention to your breath. Using this awareness as a focus increases the release of stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, and increases the “feel good” chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine: both of which are “happiness hormones.”
  4. Notice your body: find a seated position that is comfortable to you and that will allow you to relax.
  5. Allow your mind to wander. Remember, when your mind is sending you messages, it’s doing its job! Work on recognizing the thought without judgment.

Mindful happiness occurs when we align our mind, body, and spirit with our unique strengths. Happiness is not a destination, but a journey of the authenticity of our truth, a lifelong practice of pursuing a wholeness that is genuine and unique to each of us. Each moment in our life gives us the opportunity to be keenly aware of the path to follow, even if it’s one that you need to create. By following your individual journey through mindfulness, you will own the key to creating a life of fulfillment, which in my view is “happiness.”

Be Washed; Girl, Wash Your Face

Be Washed; Girl, Wash Your Face

As an Occupational Therapy Professional, one of the many things we do every day is to help people with their activities of daily living. Things like grooming, bathing, and dressing.

In the upcoming BE WASHED Event, as your Evening Coach, I will be helping you in another activity of daily living…the area of your thinking.

Imagine if you will, that voice that sometimes sits on your shoulder. Is it whispering words of TRUTH and LOVE or FEAR and LIES?

We will begin the evening retreat by exploring the book, Girl; Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Here, we will learn to STOP believing the lies about who we are so we can HONOR and become who we were meant to be our true authentic selves.

Have you ever found yourself saying things like “I’ll start that diet tomorrow.” Then several pounds up on the scale you hear yourself repeating those same words weeks later? Me too! I can’t tell you the number of times I have started my diet tomorrow, Monday, or the first of the New Year. Or how about…I’m going to take that spin class at the Y, or I’ll start walking around the block every day from now on.

WELLLLLLLLLLLL Lies, all lies we tell ourselves. We like to talk about all the things we are going to do, learn about the things we are going to do, but somehow, we never get around to DOING all the things we say we are going to do. Ugh! Can anyone out there relate?

Many of us can. The Be Washed event will expose more of the most common lies we tell ourselves and offer new strategies to help us be honest with ourselves about what we are blowing off.

The second half of the event we will be taking a look at the book Change your Mind, and Your Life Will Follow by Karen Casey. Her book showcases 12 principles that guide us towards LOVE. Who out there doesn’t need more of that?

Thirty years ago Karen Casey wandered into a support group and learned there was only one thing she could change—herself! The result of this change was so profound she dedicated much of her life to teaching others about it.

I, like Karen, believe if we change our minds, our lives WILL follow. I want to use the opportunity I have as an Occupational Therapy Professional and a Coach to help others grow in this area of thought. Let’s face it; it truly is an activity of daily living.

Let’s think better, do better and feel better. What do you say?

Hope to see you there!

About today’s author: Kat Middleton is an Empowerment Coach who is passionate about her work and advocates for authentic wholehearted living both personally and professionally. She is a Certified Professional Coach and Occupational Therapy Practitioner who loves working with people holistically; helping others to help themselves see things through new filters. Kat joined the Wholistic Woman community in September of 2017. She is very excited to learn, grow, and have much fun with this AMAZING group of women. Kat is available for private one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops, seminars, and speaking events.

Announcing Group Coaching!

Announcing Group Coaching!

Announcing Group Coaching!

Like you, Wholistic Woman Retreats is an organization that is constantly evolving.  We are an organization on the grow!

When we began in 2010 we offered full day retreats designed to support women with their personal and professional development. After facilitating a few of these retreats, we heard from our community that they wanted more frequent opportunities to connect, so we launched the monthly ‘Be You’ Evening Retreats.  The intention was to create a space for like-minded women in and around the Frederick, MD area to gather on a regular basis. At these enriching programs women take a break from the busyness of life to focus on their own development while connecting with other women-on-the-grow.  These monthly retreats have been a big hit and over the years we’ve had the pleasure of watching our community expand as we support one another.

Our leadership team makes a point to listen to all suggestions that come our way. Recently, we’ve heard that many of you who love and support us as an organization are looking for something a little deeper than a 90-minute evening retreat.  While you love the take-aways of the ‘Be You’ programs, you often leave wanting more!  We think this is awesome, and WE HEAR YOU!  It appears to be time for us to GROW AGAIN!

We are happy to announce that our answer to the desire to go deeper is GROUP COACHING!

Some of you may be familiar with the concept of group coaching and others not, so I’d like to describe how it can provide you with an opportunity for more growth.

Group coaching, by definition, is exactly what is sounds like… it is a coach-facilitated group that meets on a regular basis to explore an area of common interest.  Groups can be done in a variety of ways… in-person or virtually (via audio and/or video calls).  The frequency that a group meets also varies… weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly are typical intervals.

I personally have been both a participant, as well as a coach, in a wide variety of coaching groups and here are some of the reasons I love group coaching – and think you will too!

  • COLLECTIVE WISDOM – In every group I have been a part of, I have been amazed at how wise women are! There is something magical that happens when we gather in a safe space to share what we know, as well as to ask for guidance in areas where we want to grow. Whether, I’ve been in the role of participant or leader, I have learned something new from every group I’ve experienced.
  • CONNECTION – One of the cornerstones of group coaching is trust and connection. In group coaching settings confidentiality is key and is taken extremely seriously. For the connections to be meaningful, it is vital that all participants feel safe to share. Coaches work diligently to create a safe, non-judgmental, space within a coaching group.  Groups work as a unit.  All participants go through the work together from start to finish.  This cohesiveness builds bonds between people.  By the end of your time together as a group you build deep, meaningful connections with your fellow participants.
  • MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES – Oftentimes we get stuck because we don’t know what we don’t know. Group coaching brings people with different perspectives together and this often leads to “Ah-ha” moments and intriguing discussions.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY – If you are like me, then you know how powerful making a commitment to a group of people can be. I have found that there is something transformational that happens when I declare a goal publicly. I have always had better success and follow-through with goals I set during my group coaching work than when I go it alone.
  • AFFORDABILITY – One of the practical aspects of group coaching is that it is less expensive than 1:1 coaching. While it is a shared learning and growing environment it doesn’t mean that everyone is working on the same goals. In fact, you will be setting your unique goals just like you would in a 1:1 coaching experience. You will receive individual attention within the group community.
  • IT’S MORE FUN! – Group coaching sessions are something that most participants look forward to. It is fun to get together with other people who are in similar situations or who are creating forward momentum in their careers and lives.

While these benefits are great, the main reason we are offering group coaching is to explore and apply topics in greater depth than we can in one night. Imagine what it would be like to put Wholistic Woman tools and strategies into practice and refine them over 2-3 months with an experienced coach and a group of supportive women. How awesome would that be?!



Today’s author: Laura Hall, CPC, CDWF: As a certified professional coach since 2009, Laura Hall, Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator has been helping people just like you make changes in. As a mother of 2 girls, Laura has a special interest in coaching parents, so if you still have children living at home, ask Laura about her Wholehearted Parenting programs. Laura can be reached via email at laurahallcoach@me.com or feel free to visit her website HallCoaching.com

How Do You Redesign Your Life?

How Do You Redesign Your Life?

How Do You Redesign Your Life?

What in your life needs to be changed or redesigned? What does change mean to you and how do you start? Coaches Laura and Kelye explore applying interior redesign to your life with coach Donna Kettell from Kettell Coaching in this seventh podcast episode. Play in your browser with the media player below or click “WWR Coaches Discuss Interior Redesign”.

WWR Coaches Discuss Interior Redesign

Design the Life You Intend to Live!

Design the Life You Intend to Live!

Design the Life You Intend to Live!

Isn’t it interesting how one experience in your life can provide new perspective in a totally different area of your life? Several years ago, when my home was celebrating its 21st birthday, I decided it was time for a much needed kitchen renovation project. Over that next twelve months, I spent time thoughtfully planning, researching options, shopping for inspiration, creating a budget, interviewing design consultants, and imagining exciting possibilities. It was fun, and at times overwhelming and a little exhausting. There were a few setbacks and a few challenges that caused me to hit the reset button. There were so many decisions and I wanted to get it right.  Finally the time arrived to say goodbye to the old kitchen, which surprisingly was a little bittersweet. After all, a lot of life had been lived in that kitchen with lots of memories. Several weeks later, that kitchen was brand new from the ceiling to the floor and everything in between. The transformation felt amazing and the changes brought me such joy!

design lifeOne day as I sat in my family room looking into my lovely new kitchen space, I realized that the coaching process is similar to this interior design process in so many ways. We are all our own interior design projects. Every day, we have the opportunity to create the blueprint for the life we intend to live. The word intend is very meaningful. We are creating the life we are living each day, whether we are doing so consciously or unconsciously without any thought. However, when we live with intention, we plan and create a clear purposeful vision for our lives.

Designing the life we intend to live takes thoughtful contemplation, and it is a daily personal growth process. Just as I experienced with my kitchen design project, there is also a lot of work that goes into our personal growth. It can feel a bit uncomfortable at times, and it may feel uncertain.  But, with the right tools to guide you, you can create a process to allow your life to transform, one design piece at a time. And just like a simple coat of fresh paint, or a few new throw pillows in your home, each small step can bring you closer to the life you want.

On the evening of Wednesday, June 27, 2018, I will be facilitating our Be Redesigned event.  We’ll all explore the different areas of our lives and assess where we may want to redesign some pieces. At the end of the evening, you should feel empowered to take your new customized interior design skills and use them in your daily life to constantly create the life you intend to live! I hope you will join us. Bring your inner interior designer with you. This fun night is all about you creating the best version of yourself!

Today’s blog was written by WWR Partner Coach, Donna Kettell.  Donna is a certified professional coach (CPC) and a master practitioner in energy leadership (ELI-MP). Her certifications were earned through The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), which is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Allowing Grief

Allowing Grief

I struggled this month to come up with a topic for my blog. I found myself coming again and again to the topic of grief and loss. Nothing else seemed quite right, and considering that we’re going into the autumn and winter, perhaps it’s appropriate for this topic to come up now. We are entering the seasons of ending and darkness before we rejuvenate in the spring, and grief is a topic that, while not taboo in our culture, is still discussed too infrequently. And so I would like to share with you my recent experiences with grief and what I’ve learned.

I’ve never experienced a death in my life before. I’ve experienced losses of a different kind, but not death. My family has been fortunate. We’re all fairly healthy, and longevity run in our genes. So I find myself ill-equipped to handle the death of someone I’ve loved and cared for over many years.

cat, grief, passingI miss being woken in the morning by yells for breakfast. I find myself still calling out a goodbye when I leave the house and then remembering I’m talking to no one. I have difficulties sleeping because her presence isn’t there. The house feels lonelier and quieter without her voice, and I’m more aware of when I’m alone than before. She would crawl on my lap and “help” (i.e., get in the way) when I was working. She would comfort me when I was sad and she never failed to bring a smile to my face. My constant companion for eight years died on September 22.

Unfortunately, I found myself feeling guilty and ashamed because the death I was mourning was that of my cat. While my pet is beloved to me, to other people, she’s “just a cat.” While in the depths of my grief, I heard from multiple people that said grief is misplaced, because I was “just” grieving a cat. While I do not have any children, it feels to me like I have lost my child, and for others to dismiss my grief because I was mourning a cat felt offensive and hurtful. Those feelings were piled on top of the guilt I already felt because I’d had to make the decision to put my cat down, and that decision broke my heart.

But when I related these feelings and how a few people had reacted, a client of mine gave me some very good advice. She said, “Grief is grief, and there’s no timeline for grief.” That was exactly what I needed to hear. Grief is grief, regardless of whether it’s for a person, a pet, or even a situation. We all process grief in different ways, and that grief may last for a few weeks or it may last for years.

ring, griefHearing those words helped me to allow myself to feel the grief without the guilt or shame. My grief is my own, and I must process it in the way that’s best for me. I found ways to give myself touchstones to get through the day. In the immediate aftermath, I found myself unable to put down one of her favorite toys. I carried it around in my pocket while at home. My cat used to follow me around the house, and carrying her toy made it feel like she still was. Then I was able to set that aside when the immediate sorrow has lessened and I no longer felt like I needed that particular reminder. Later, I found an Etsy shop that makes affordable custom rings, and their specialty is slim rings with the name of your pet and a paw print stamped onto it. So I bought a ring with my cat’s name. It was the perfect thing I needed to allow my grief to settle.

I still have moments when I feel that grief crashing into me, but it’s getting easier, and the pain is less. My heart will always be scarred for her, but I have ways now that I feel like I will always remember the love and comfort she gave me over eight years, and so the healing has begun.

What has helped you move through loss and grief?

So many people I know have lately been affected by death, whether it’s the death of beloved pets or family members. My good friend’s aging dog died of a heart attack. Two friends I know have had family members succumb to serious illnesses. While volunteering this past week, a phone call came in for the staff with the news that a coworker had passed the previous day.

Each piece of news that comes my way feels like another pebble dropping into the bucket of grief and it grows heavier with the collective sorrow those in my circle are feeling.

If you are experiencing grief or loss, I encourage you to reach out to friends and loved ones. You are not a burden, and your grief is not a burden. The only way out is through.

Grief is grief, and there is no timeline for grief.


Today’s blog is written by one of our alliance partners, Kira Tregoning. Kira is the owner and founder of Maia Media Management, a local social media business. She offers social media management, consultations, and trainings, as well as video services, proofreading, editing, and manuscript critique services. Kira is also a published author with two fantasy novels available on Amazon and more on the way. Learn more about her at www.kiratregoning.com