The Wholistic Woman Community

The Wholistic Woman Community

Women who are busy with family, homes, careers, and outside commitments can benefit from a community in many ways.  Like-minded women collaboratively help one another and offer support as they deal with similar stresses, commitments, thoughts, goals, and challenges.

At times, many of us have been tempted to put more value on the number of friends we have, the number of social media accounts we belong to, and the number of people who follow us.  Wanting more than just a numbers game, though, we move to a different perspective.  We recognize the importance of having connections that are genuine, authentic and in alignment with our values.

People connect with and join groups for a variety of reasons.  Some women join communities to gain support, motivation, and drive (both personally and professionally).  Others may look for a social outlet to offset a life that is filled with taking care of the home and family.  Some women may be looking for a group that helps them to find personal improvement and a broader dimension to life.  There are a variety of reasons to join groups but when you find one that aligns with you, it’s a pretty incredible experience.

That was my experience when I went to my first Wholistic Woman Retreat.  I was introduced to the community by a friend who was a regular attendee and advocate for the group.  I remember going with an open mind even though I was unsure what to expect.  I was excited, and also a little nervous.  I really enjoyed the program because it allowed me to meet new women, connect with others, learn about the group and have a good understanding of the group’s mission and message.

One of the most memorable moments of the night was when I met one of the founding coaches.  She welcomed me in a way that made me feel as if I was already part of the group! I found that I resonated with the entire community and enjoyed hearing the other women share their stories.  I had an overwhelming sense of calm and connection which was in sharp contrast to the nervousness that I began the evening with. I even felt safe enough to share some of my own experiences with the group. In doing so I noticed that I was able to be vulnerable without judgment or feelings of shame.  It was an incredibly empowering experience; one that left me wanting to come back the following month.  Now I am grateful to be both a member and a partner coach with the Wholistic Coaching Coalition.  That’s how much of an impact the group has had on my life, as well as in the lives of many other women. In this community, I often hear women share similar experiences, thoughts, and observations as I have had.

Being a partner coach and a member of this amazing community, I have seen myself and others grow not only personally but professionally too.  The coaches and community provide tools, support, education, opportunities for growth and personal development in a variety of ways.  I love what Wholistic Woman provides in my life, the lives of others and how much they give to the community.  No matter where you are in your life, the Wholistic Woman community provides a welcoming space for all.

Where some groups may separate social, spiritual, business, and personal aspect of life, the Wholistic approach shows how these elements can flow easily with one another. Each part adds a new dimension and sense of unity.  When we get together at our monthly evening retreats, we share stories and observations related to the topic. We discuss a variety of strategies, thoughts, ideas, and experiences to help us evolve and be our best.

This community can help you grow personally, expand your business, reach your goals, connect you with new friends, discover new interests and exercise your creativity.

I believe that we all have within us what we need to be “whole.”  What makes the experience of growing towards wholeness even better is to have friends to share the journey with.

To learn more about the Wholistic Woman Community’s coaching events, visit www.wholisticwomanretreats.com.

You’re invited to meet the women of this wonderfully supportive community at our next evening retreat, Be Connected, on Feb. 27. Click here for details. 

Today’s author: Kim Wilson is a retired police officer with a huge passion for helping others and working in the community. She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach (CHC) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Towson University. For more information on Kim and how she is empowering women to live the nourished life, please visit her website.

Be Loved, My Beloved!

Be Loved, My Beloved!

What does it feel like to be loved?

Take a moment and think about a time when someone special (maybe a family member, friend or significant other) did something…or said something… that filled your love tank to the brim.

Was it…a hug, a thoughtful gift, an act of service, quality time spent together, or spoken words that filled you up?

When we combine the two words ‘be loved’ it turns into beloved. Does anything change for you as you put the two together?

It does for me. My One Word this year happens to be Beloved. As I have reflected on this word for many months now I’ve noticed two dimensions to it.

The first dimension in inward; it’s about being loved; learning to receive love and to be treasured by another. This year I’ve noticed the many ways that others show, or tell, me how much I mean to them. With this awareness I’m letting more love in and have sometimes found myself overwhelmed and speechless by the expression of genuine caring that others have conveyed to me.

It encourages me that even at the advanced age of 59 I have learned so much about love. Over the past 8 years I have fallen in love, nurtured that love through highs and lows, and moved into a committed relationship with my recent marriage to my longtime sweetheart, Greg. I have learned that you’re never too old to fall in love. I’ve also learned that committed loving relationships take work. Falling in love may be easy but staying in love takes intentional effort. Having tools like our strengths, values, and love languages equips us to understand one another better. I have learned what it means to be treasured by a very special man. That lesson about being his beloved continues each day.

The second dimension is outward; it’s noticing who is beloved to me and how I show the depth of that emotion. I’ve always been a caring person who easily expresses love to others, however, I’ve learned even more lessons about the nature of love this past year. A beloved brother-in-law received a dire health diagnosis last fall. This shocked him and set him, and all who love him, on edge. Suddenly we no longer had a seemingly endless supply of days to spend together stretching over many years ahead. An unclear timeline was placed on us as doctors attempted to set new expectations based upon their knowledge of his illness. Reordering of priorities occurred immediately. Suddenly each day, each moment together had a heightened sense of love. We treasure each laugh, each smile and hug. We know our time is limited and so we make sure that we express love more frequently and clearly. Anticipated loss has opened a walkway to what really matters in life.

Why does it take a frightening diagnosis for us to show someone we love them? What is it about limited time that makes us suddenly appreciate the people we hold dear? Why don’t we do it every day?

Perhaps like you, I’m fortunate to have many people in my life that I love and who love me in return. I don’t want to waste a single day, missing opportunities to show that love…and to show it in ways that they ‘get it’.

The question then becomes, how do we know the most impactful way to give love to those who are important to us…so that it’s well received?

Like many, I tend to assume that others experience love the same way that I do. Because of that tendency, I show love and appreciation in the ways that make the most sense to me. Sometimes my caring expressions fall short, though, and are misinterpreted because the other person speaks a different language.

Dr. Gary Chapman, in his popular books writes of five love languages (also known as appreciation languages in the work place). The premise is straightforward. We each have a love, or appreciation, tank inside of us that needs to be refilled as we give to others. When the tank gets too low we may feel grouchy, needy, and perhaps even desperate for refueling. Just as we need to refill our car’s gas tank to keep it going, we need to know when our love tank is low and in need of refilling.

So, what fills you up? Dr. Chapman, in his many years as a counselor, has identified these primary love, or appreciation, languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time

Apparently, I am not alone in the tendency to express love and appreciation in my own language, which frequently differs from the language of my loved ones. Miscommunication and confusion can occur when the other person doesn’t respond to my expression of appreciation the way that I thought s/he would. It can leave me wondering what’s wrong. I now recognize that I need to speak another language; their appreciation language instead of my own.

You may have heard it said that love is a choice. Sometimes the choice to love is easy and at other times it can be challenging. Using someone’s love/appreciation language is a choice as well. It helps us to be more effective in our relationships.

Common wisdom tells us that humans have an inner drive to be loved and accepted; to belong. It has been said that we’re all searching for love. Gaining a deeper understanding of our personal need for love and appreciation puts us in the driver’s seat to be more intentional about getting those needs met. I believe that knowing what makes you feel loved is a very important element of self-awareness.

In my leadership coaching practice, I focus on developing the strengths of my clients. Research shows that when a person is able to use their natural talents in their work and personal life they are more fulfilled, positive, motivated, and engaged in their life. The same is true when we honor our core values. Lives based on our unique values and strengths evoke a deep satisfaction within us.

I believe our love language has a similar ability to create deep fulfillment. When we learn what makes us feel loved, we more quickly recognize and welcome it. Such knowledge helps us ask for what we need – which increases the likelihood that we will get what we need.

In addition, knowing the love language of the people near and dear to us is like having a set of keys. We know what unlocks the door to their hearts and that allows us to show our love to them in the most impactful ways possible.

Ancient wisdom tells us that love is life’s most precious gift. It is the most important emotion we will experience in our time on earth. Learning how to do it well is a worthy endeavor; whether that’s with a romantic partner, a family member, or a friend. Wholistically, it includes learning to love and accept ourselves, and the God of our understanding, as well as others.

Taking time to show appreciation to those close to me may seem obvious yet I’ve found that I can drift into taking those relationships for granted. I don’t want to do that.

Beyond those people closest to my heart there is a larger circle where I also want to show appreciation. I can use my strengths, values, and knowledge of love languages to express my caring to co-workers, community members, and even strangers that I meet in my daily life.

The choice to show love…appreciation…and caring to another is the most important business that I’m in.

In closing, who do you want to show love to today…and how will you do it?

Feel free to comment or email me with your observations and successes!

An Invitation: As Jack Nicholson said to Diane Keaton in the popular movie, Something’s Gotta Give, You are a woman to love!” If you want to learn more about applying the five languages of love and appreciation, please join me for an interactive Be Loved Evening Retreat on Aug 29 from 5:30-7:30 pm. Click here for details and registration.

Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is a strengths-based executive coach who guides individuals and businesses to be their best. For more information about her coaching services, and her book Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith, visit www.caroldelaski.com or email her at carol@caroldelaski.com

Read more by Carol deLaski: Finding Love Again

References:

  • The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman;
  • The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White.

Being Raised by “Mr. Fun”

Being Raised by “Mr. Fun”

“If you make something fun, it’s easier to learn.” ~ Larry Seaman
(Coach Laura’s Dad)

Have you ever done a values assessment? A values assessment is a process that helps you get clear on your core values. A value is defined as a principle, standard, or quality considered inherently worthwhile or desirable. In the book What Color is Your Parachute, Richard Bolles says, “Values are a matter of what guides you through every day, every task, every encounter with another human being.”

I’ve done several values assessments over the years and one of my values which shows up consistently, time and time again, is fun.  I try to find a way to have as many moments of fun in my day as possible. I think the reason this value has been so consistent in my life is because I was raised by “Mr. Fun”.  My dad, Larry, is one of the most fun-loving people you will ever meet.  With Father’s Day coming up, I thought it would be appropriate to share a little with you about my dad and what it was like being raised in an environment of fun.

One of the things I’ve always admired about my dad was what an excellent father he was despite the fact that his own father died when he was just eight years old and his memories of his dad are very limited. He parented from a place of intuition more than from following the model his father gave him because he just didn’t remember enough about his dad from before he died.

My dad was 23 years old when I was born in May of 1967, and as I’ve been told, he loved me wholeheartedly from the moment he met me. I was definitely Daddy’s Little Girl! My mom says that it wasn’t unusual for him to come home from work with a new dress for me, which he’d promptly put me in and then take me out to show me off to all of his friends.

So many of my earliest memories from my preschool days are full of fun. My dad played on a bowling league and I can remember begging him to let me go with him. I would run around the back of the bowling alley with other kids just waiting for the chance to bowl a couple balls at the end of the night. We’d then go home and my dad would help put me to bed with a bedtime story… he very rarely read to me, but instead made up stories out of his head… and an evening ritual that I named “do face” where I would close my eyes and my dad would lightly trace his fingers around my eyes, nose, and face… I can still remember how relaxing this was for me!

As I approached elementary school age, our fun became more educational. I perfected my spelling with The Spelling Game… which was just my dad giving me a word, spelling bee style, and asking me to spell it.  We would play this everywhere, but mostly in the car during long rides. Another one of our favorite car games was Name That Tune… my dad was a harmonica player, so he would play a song, and my brother and I would try to guess what he was playing.  At home, we worked on my math skills by playing store. My dad would sit down with me and give me a pile of money. He then would bring me an item he wanted to buy and it was my job to make the correct change from the money he gave me to pay for his “purchase”.

Spending time with family, my grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins, was also part of the environment of fun I was raised in. We would get together for crab feasts, card games, holidays, and birthdays. We’d go out in the evening for ice cream followed by a game of hide and seek, and as dusk set in, we’d grab a jar and collect fireflies.  We went camping and would sing camp songs, make a fire, and stargaze.

In a nutshell, my childhood was full of love, learning and fun!

So, as we approach Father’s Day this year, I want to say, thank you Dad for raising me in such a way that I recognize the value of FUN!!!  Now that I am an adult, I recognize that not everyone is able to give themselves permission to play and have fun the way that I can, and I believe it is because of you that fun always shows up as one of my core values. You are an amazing man and I am lucky to be your daughter!

What fun memories do you have of your dad?  Please share them with me!  I’d really love to hear some of your stories too!

 

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

Be Compassionate

One of the things I like to do before going to bed is to make sure there are no dishes in the sink. I like coming down in the morning to start my day feeling calm, peaceful and curious about what the new day will bring. What I know to be true about myself and how I operate best in the world, is that the stuff around me affects my energy…. when my space feels peaceful, I feel peaceful. A sink full of dirty dishes feels messy and chaotic to me so that is why I make a point, most nights, to clean it up before I retire for the evening. The problem is that I am almost always the first person to go to bed and sometimes more dishes accumulate. This was the case last night.

My daughter is home from college for Easter, and she and her boyfriend were up several hours after me.  This morning the sink wasn’t as neat and tidy as I had left it. One of the items in the sink was my favorite mug. You know the one… it’s the one that is just the right size, that fits in your hands perfectly and that when you drink out of it, you just can’t help but feel happy. I was up early this morning to get ready for my exercise class. When I came downstairs, I saw the mug in the sink. I knew that when I returned home, after the workout, I would want to use it to enjoy a nice cup of tea, so instead of putting it in the dishwasher, I began to hand wash it. Now, mind you, it is about 4:45 am and although I am a morning person by nature, I’m not fully awake yet. I’m not sure exactly what happened but suffice it to say that the mug slipped from my hand and broke 🙁

What happened next, you might be wondering!?!  

Well, I picked the pieces up, put them in the trash, and headed out the door without any negative thoughts or feelings. I don’t know about you, but for me, this felt like a little miracle, because not that many years ago, what happened next would have looked a lot different.

Here’s how the Laura from a few years would have reacted…

There would have been a significant amount of criticism directed at both myself, as well as my daughter. My inner critic would have had a field day. My self-talk would have been something like, “You are so clumsy! Why aren’t you more careful?!? If you would just slow down a little bit, things like this wouldn’t happen!” Blah, blah, blah….

But it doesn’t stop there! When something goes wrong, our egos want to project any negative thoughts and feelings away from ourselves and onto someone or something else, so my daughter would have been part of my inner critics rant as well. My inner dialog around her may have sounded something like this… “If only she hadn’t left the mug in the sink, this wouldn’t have happened! She knows I don’t like leaving dishes in the sink overnight! It’s like she doesn’t even care about what matters to me!” Blah, blah, blah…

Self-Criticism and blame would have disrupted my calm, peaceful and curious start to my day. I would have been frustrated and angry! But, I didn’t go there! That was the miracle 🙂

As I reflect back on where I am today versus where I was several years ago it is easy to see how far I’ve come. So the question I’m sure at least a few of you are asking is, ‘How did you get to where you are today’. The answer is by practicing being compassionate and really paying attention to my self-talk. I’ve been using something I call ‘ace-ing compassion‘. Here is how it works…

  • Awareness – I believe this is alway the first step if. It’s a simple truth that you can’t change something you aren’t aware of, so listen to yourself. Pay attention to the thoughts that were present before you reacted. Learn to see your reactions as gifts that can teach you more about yourself. I believe that deeply knowing yourself is the key to your personal evolution.

You saw in my story above that before I started practicing being compassionate that my thoughts were all very critical – both of myself as well as of my daughter.

  • Curiosity – Once you are aware of the thoughts you are thinking, get curious about them. Curiosity and wonder are beautiful lenses to look at life through because they take out judgement. Ask empowering questions about your thoughts like, “Is that thought true?”, “Can I absolutely know that’s true?”, “Could there be another way to look at this situation?”, etc.

Once I looked at the mug situation with curiosity, what I saw was that I actually believe I am a pretty coordinated person and not overly clumsy. The mug was slippery from the soap and I really believe it was just an accident. And, the truth about my daughter is that I know she loves me deeply, and blaming her would not help the situation.

  • Empathy – The final step is to turn to empathy, both for the part of yourself you were criticizing as well as anyone you were blaming. For yourself, you want to practice talking to yourself like you would talk to someone you love and for anyone you might be blaming, I encourage you to look for a more generous assumption.

In my case, here is how I shifted my self-talk to be more compassionate and more in line with how I would talk to someone I love… “Don’t be so hard on yourself…It was an accident! And, it’s just a mug that can easily be replaced. Please don’t worry about it.” Then I shifted my inner dialog around my daughter. Instead of blaming or criticizing her, I chose to remind myself that I know she loves me…that sometimes I too leave dishes in the sink usually because I’m just so tired by the time I’m making my way to bed that it feels easier and, when I really think about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually told her that this is something that is important to me.

One of my guiding life principles is this…”Be the change you wish to see in the world”. A quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. I believe we can all agree that more compassion in the world would be a wonderful thing. So if you are like me and would like to expand compassion in your life, I hope you will consider joining me and the Wholistic Woman community on April 25th in Frederick, Maryland.  I will be leading a workshop title ‘Be Compassionate’ where we will be exploring this topic. If you’d like more information, please click here.

In the meantime, I love hearing from you! If you start experimenting with the ‘ACE-ing compassion’ process, please let me know what you think. Talking to yourself like you would talk to your best friend or someone you love is such a simple concept but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Please share your successes as well as your struggles. We all learn from one another. You just might be the teacher someone is waiting to hear from 🙂

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you look for ways to bring more compassion in to you life today and in the days ahead. ~ Laura

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