“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” ~ Brené Brown

Yes!!!  This!!!  Connectedness!!!  I need this, you need this, the world needs this!!!  

Just imagine a world where we all felt connected to ourselves and to others.  Really… pause for a moment and imagine how your life and the world would be if we all had a deep sense of love and belonging.  Can you picture it!?!  What do you see?

What I see is a world where people feel safe to say that they are afraid and need help. What I see is a world where interdependence is everywhere and no one feels alone.  What I see is a world where we meet people where they are without needing them to be different.  What I see is a world where we know and understand that our differences are what bring beauty and color and variety to life, and more than tolerate differences, we embrace them.  Yes, you may say I’m a dreamer, but that is what I see.

One of the things I absolutely love about the Wholistic Woman Retreats Community is that we strive to create a safe space where you will feel connected.  We hold monthly events and encourage membership in our community in hopes that the women who come on a regular basis will get to know one another and will feel like they belong.  

Emma Seppälä, Ph.D, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and the author of The Happiness Track (HarperOne, 2016)  notes one landmark study that showed that lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.  Who knew!?!

She goes on to report that research around strong social connection shows that it:

  • leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity
  • strengthens your immune system
  • helps you recover from disease faster
  • lowers levels of anxiety and depression

Moreover, studies also show that people who feel connected to others have higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, are more trusting and cooperative and, as a consequence, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them. In other words, social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being.

If you are a woman in the Frederick Area and are looking for more connectedness, we might be exactly what you are looking for.  Check out this impromptu video I made about our upcoming August 2019 event being held in partnership with The Frederick County Chamber of Commerce’s  Women in Business Committee…

Click Here to watch the video

Here are the 2 links you will need if you are interested in joining us for this event:

In the meantime, there are lots of ways you can connect with us so please spend some time perusing our website if you’d like more information 🙂

And please, share your thoughts with us!  We love learning from you!  


~ 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 both their personal and professional lives.  Laura can be reached via email at or feel free to visit her website

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

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.

Packing List for Life’s Journey

Packing List for Life’s Journey

Packing List for Life’s Journey

I’ve always resonated with the idea of life being a journey.  A journey is defined as an act of traveling from one place to another.  I see life as a journey across time.  Over time, I’ve been able to experience different aspects of myself and the world in which I live.  It’s been quite a journey and the exciting part is that there is so much to discover and uncover about myself still ahead of me.

Every seasoned traveler knows that packing appropriately can make a big difference to your experience.  If you forget to pack your gloves on your ski trip, you are either going to need to buy some or you are going to be pretty miserable.

This got me thinking about a packing list for life’s journey.  This packing list is modeled after the 10 guideposts to wholehearted living found in the book The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brené Brown.  I hope you find it as helpful as I have 🙂

  1. Bring authenticity – Be truly yourself, practice being vulnerable. Let yourself really be seen. Leave behind the masks and armor you have accumulated over the years. They will just weigh your life down.
  2. Bring compassion, both for yourself and those you encounter on your journey, leave behind perfectionism…there is no such thing as a perfect life, only perfectly imperfect ones.
  3. Bring a resilient spirit…when you find yourself in an unexpected rain storm, believe that you have what it takes to make it through. Seek the shelter of help if needed. Leave behind numbing and powerlessness as those behaviors and thoughts can leave you feeling lost and hopeless.
  4. Bring gratitude and joy…look for the good in life. Speak words of appreciation to yourself and others on a daily basis.  Leave behind scarcity and fear of the dark…you are worthy of love and belonging.  You are enough.  Remember that!
  5. Bring intuition and faith, leave behind the need for certainty…You are never going to be able to predict all the unexpected surprises that you will undoubtedly encounter along the way. Trust that divine intervention is with you always, guiding you even when you don’t realize it.
  6. Bring creativity – the life you design together will be uniquely yours. Leave behind comparison…Instead of comparing your life to others’, ask the question, “Is this working for me?”  If the answer is yes…great.  If the answer is no…be creative and try something different.
  7. Bring along play and rest while leaving behind exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth …Do things that rejuvenate you and refills your tank. When you are tired, rest.  Remember, it doesn’t matter how fast you go.  Enjoy the moments and go at your own pace.
  8. Bring calm and stillness, leave behind anxiety as a lifestyle…some of the most memorable experiences will be those born out of not having an agenda. They will come in the quiet stillness of just looking up at the stars.  Anxiety will undoubtedly show up at different times during your journey, learn from it and move on, but please don’t pack it.
  9. Bring meaningful work…something that leaves you feeling accomplished and feeling like your life has purpose. This may or may not be what we do for employment.  Do not pack self-doubt and “supposed to’s”…practice trusting yourself and learning to say no to things that are not moving you toward your best self and your best life.
  10. Bring laughter, song and dance, and leave behind being cool and always in control. Please pack your sense of humor and a willingness to be silly and not take yourself too seriously while leaving behind a need to always be right.

This packing list is something I need to revisit on a regular basis.  I hope you find it as useful as I have as you navigate your way through life. Is there anything else that you think is important to pack or to leave home?  I’d love to read what you have to say!


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 or feel free to visit her website

Be Loved, My Beloved!

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 or email her at

Read more by Carol deLaski: Finding Love Again


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

Self-Compassion – Being Your Own Best Friend

Self-Compassion – Being Your Own Best Friend

When you hear the word “friend”, what comes to mind for you?

What qualities does a good friend embody? Before you read any more, take a minute to pause and really think about what it means to be a good friend.

For me, the qualities I look for in a friend include (but are not limited to) the following…

  • I can trust them
  • they are honest with me and allow me to be honest with them
  • they know how to listen well
  • they have a good sense of humor
  • they challenge me to be better
  • they are there to lean on and are supportive in challenging times
  • they give me the benefit of the doubt
  • they are encouraging and want the best for me

Now, I want you to think about what kind of friend you are to yourself…

For most of us, we tend to be better friends to others than we are to ourselves. We expect things of ourselves that we would never expect of others, we make promises to ourselves and then don’t keep them (New Year resolutions are the perfect example of this), and we speak to ourselves in ways we would never speak to a friend.

I recently participated in an online workshop on self-compassion and the thing that stood out to me the most was how common it is for us to beat ourselves up with negative self-talk.  For most of us, the voice in our head, at times, speaks to us in ways that we would never stand for if it were someone outside ourselves speaking to us that way. We can be really hard on ourselves.

As a recovering perfectionist and someone who is prone to anxiety, I am always on the lookout for ways to manage stress, so when I learned that the research shows that practicing self-compassion not only motivates people to overcome failure and to do better, but also helps reduce stress and anxiety, I knew that becoming a better friend to myself was something I needed to lean into.  I’ve been practicing self-compassion for about 4 years now and here is what I am learning…

The first step is to set a self-compassion intention.  My intention was to practice talking to myself like I would talk to someone I genuinely loved, admired, and believed was doing the best they could do in any given moment.

The second step is awareness. Pay attention to your self-talk, especially when you feel you’ve messed up in some way. Are you a critic or a cheerleader? Work on being mindful of the language that you default to during the stressful times in your life.

The third step is to practice compassion. Think of someone outside yourself that you love dearly…practice talking to yourself the way you would talk to them.

I am passionate about the topic of compassion because I think our modern lives would be exponentially better if we all practiced being more compassionate both to ourselves and others.  Life is hard at times!  believe in being the change I want to see in the world.  I would love to see more compassion, so it is my goal to be more compassionate.  We are all human, and part of the human experience is the fact that we are all imperfect.  Let’s practice being kind to ourselves and kind to others. Just imagine the impact a more compassionate world would have… it’s mind blowing!!!

Who wants to join me?

If you know me, then you know that my life coaching workshops are all about teaching what I am practicing, so I have two events I’d like to invite you to…

The first one is Wholistic Woman’s full day retreat on March 3rd, outside Baltimore, Maryland, titled ’Be Creative’, where I will be leading a breakout session in which we will be making a self-compassion vision page. You can find details and registration information here…https://home/wholisu6/

Join us for the day or for the weekend. Either way I know you will walk away feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and inspired.

The 2nd event, ‘’Be Compassionate’, is on April 25th in Frederick, Maryland. During this interactive workshop, you will have the opportunity to experience a guided meditation on self-compassion, participate in a coach-led discussion on compassion, and you will walk away with strategies to put compassion to work in your life. For details on this event visit https://home/wholisu6/

I hope to see you at one of these events!

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 or feel free to visit her website