THANK YOU to everyone who attended the Spring Mini-Retreat yesterday! I have NEVER had every single person show up for an event. I usually have a 25 to 50 percent "no show" rate. (Actually, there was ONE person who couldn't make it because COVID vaccine side-effects knocked her down). I attribute it to my friend's wonderful movement guidance (and the snacks, mocktails & wine)! And perhaps some COVID fatigue and desire for community. And the incredible love and support of all of YOU. I hope that none of you felt uncomfortable with the size of the "crowd." There will be many workshops and retreats to come, of all shapes and sizes.
I wanted to share a story about my morning with you, in hopes that it will further illustrate some of what we were discussing about "perfect" mindfulness and also inviting beauty and creativity into your life.
As you know, I am a recovering lawyer. I'm also a recovering perfectionist. Life, marriage, children and health hiccups all work to cure us of perfectionism. It's a PROCESS I am trying to honor. After the retreat, my husband Tim and I dragged the most critical items in from the backyard and left everything else out there. While Tim grilled burgers, I made myself a dinner of the leftover snacks, poured a glass of wine, and rehashed . . . in my mind and out loud to my poor husband. "I hope everyone took SOMETHING away from the retreat. I should have budgeted more time to talk about XYZ. I wonder if anyone had a burning question they were afraid to ask. I hope no one was spooked by the fact that there were 24 of us out there." Etc. etc. I'm a bit of a ruminator and analyzer. I eventually settled down and climbed onto the couch to watch an episode of HANNA (total escapist fun, by the way).
This morning I woke up earlier than everyone else. It was wet and gray. I thanked God for saving the wet and gray until after the retreat. I made my coffee. Looked grumpily at the fish sticks and chocolate milk my teenagers left out in the middle of the night, mixed in with the party leftovers. I started that dialogue in my head, "It's messy. I can't relax until it's cleaned up. But I need to meditate. I have to walk the walk. I'm anxious. I need to practice what I preach. I shouldn't have had that mini Mr. Goodbar before I made my lemon water . . . ."
At some point, I poured my coffee and put on my rubber boots and headed out into my muddy overgrown backyard to drag chairs back to that funny little deck in the woods. Back in the day, I would have NEVER had anyone to my house without making sure everything was perfectly clean and the grass was cut. I gave myself a little mental high-five for letting go of that "rule" for having folks over. I started dragging chairs across the yard one at a time, sipping my coffee, slipping around a little in the mud. Finally I petered out. I sat down. And it hit me. I'm not going to move this chair. I'm going to leave flowers in a bottle, on a stump, in the backyard . . . even though that makes NO sense. ("There are already flowers out here. The tulips should be inside.") It was SUPER noisy where I was sitting because the bleeding hearts (which I just learned about) were FULL of bees, frantically working. The sun came out and was warm on my face. And then it was like a voice: THIS is where you pay attention, Nicole. I was present. I left something beautiful somewhere JUST because. And I paid attention. And just sat there and felt newly awake and present.
THAT is what I want for you. Drink your water. Breathe between bites. Have an evening routine that doesn't include your phone, so you'll sleep better. And yes, eat your veggies. BUT, also be opportunistic with your mindfulness. Allow yourself to see what's good. Pay attention. And shamelessly allow beauty and creativity into your life, whether it's a painting or a stump with a flower or a rearranged room or a flawless Powerpoint presentation. There are no rules or boundaries to a good life.
GET READY. It's coming. We are WAKING UP. Let's do it with intention. Not zero to 60. Let's take the lessons of the pandemic into our new normal.
This year's spring workshop will be a mini-retreat held outdoors in Oakton, Virginia on Saturday, April 10th from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM (rain date April 17th).
What can you expect? A retreat from perfectionism, self-doubt, busyness and fear. Yes, we're heading back to the office, school, music lessons, sports, social activities, family obligations and more. All things we've missed, but things that can also knock us off track when it comes to nurturing our health, relationships and well-being.
So let's take time to adopt some healthy habits, set goals, practice some mindfulness, do a little gentle strength & yoga work, snack on some nourishing foods (including something tasty from Cole's Moveable Feast) and taste some fun spring "mocktails" & organic wines.
All spots for the Mini-Retreat have been filled. Please contact me to be added to the waitlist.
REVIVE SUPERFOODS has amazing smoothie kits, soups and meals. I get twelve each month. The smoothies are cups of frozen, whole, plant foods like seeds, pea protein, veggies, fruits, cacao, hemp. No added sugar or fake stuff. You fill it with your favorite liquid (unsweetened organic soy milk for me), blend, put it back in your cup and pop in a straw. The soups are delicious, too. This solves the lunch problem for me ~ I often skip lunch or make poor choices because I'm busy, and I'm not much of a sandwich person. Give it a try, this offer gets you 55% of your first box!
Guess what? Wellness Feast is on TikTok! And it's pretty entertaining how bad I am, but I'm learning new tricks every day (thanks to my kids). The point is, that's where I'll share lots of recipes, healthy hacks, snacks and encouragement.
Y'all! I had the fabulous honor of chatting about food, wine, community, holidays, COVID and wellness with Bryan Gauthier, owner of the Oakton Wine Shop, on his podcast ~ all while enjoying his incredible cooking and some gorgeous wines! Give it a listen ~ and if you're local, be sure to throw on a mask and pop into the shop. I'm also including the links to two recipes I mention in the podcast: my favorite roasted veggie salad and Cole's Moveable Feast's famous pumpkin cheesecake pie in gingersnap crust with bourbon whip! Happy Thanksgiving!
I was a lawyer for the first decade of my working life, research is my drug of choice. If you're the same way, and you're heading to the bookstore after the doctor's office, here's a great place to start:
The Exercise Habit is the hardest one, right? So figure out what is going to make some kind of movement inevitable for you today. Some people are good at saying “I’m gonna get up and attend such and such class.” For me, it’s a matter of putting on my activewear (PS if you haven’t watched that YouTube video, watch it ASAP). Because then at least I’ll be embarrassed into working out at some point, when I run into yet another person who asks, “Oh, did you just come from the gym?” And be opportunistic. I have to take my son to a voice lesson today, so I’ll grab my screen-saturated daughter and hit the W&OD trail for 45 minutes while he’s there. Got an unfurnished room or two, like me? HeLLO, yoga studio! Just get going!
This is why I’m reinstating a deep discount on private coaching (a third off my normal rate!). I’m hearing too many of these in casual conversation:
I gained the COVID-19.
The news about school pushed me over the edge.
I just don’t care anymore.
I’m back to living in sweats.
I feel like it’s never going to be normal again.
I’m angry all the time.
I’m anxious all the time.
I started out okay, but now I’m just feeling trapped.
I hate 2020.
You guys, 2020 can be GREAT. You can look back on this year and say, wow, I really changed my life. I want everybody to feel empowered, joyful, healthy, purposeful. Even with a face mask on. Even with the kids in virtual school. Even without that dream vacation. How about instead you build your dream LIFE this year?
Give me a call or drop me an email to set up a free consultation to see if private coaching makes sense for you. You can do this.
This morning I repainted the iron table on our deck. It will be moved to our new home in a few days, and I wanted to get it done before the movers come. Today seemed like the perfect day, hot and sunny, no chance of rain. I was up early, before the heat became unbearable, so by 7am, I was out there, spreading newspaper, gathering supplies, scrubbing off peeling paint with a wire brush, then sanding the whole table. In the future, I will use spray paint, but I had a can of enamel I had bought for this table nearly a year ago, and I didn't want it to go to waste. So I painted the entire table with a good old fashioned wood-handled paint brush. I switched to a smaller brush for the little curls and flourishes, then added a second coat of paint.
Why does this matter? In the past, this is a task I would have dreaded. I would have complained inside my head throughout the entire process. But today, I let it guide me. I took my time and really focused on painting. I listened to the birds and felt the sun on my arms. I looked up every now and then, rolled my shoulders to loosen the muscles in my neck, and looked around at all the trees, lush and green from summer's heat and rains. My neighbors' crepe myrtle bloomed early this year, and I realized how much I'll miss that tree. I relished this last Sunday on the tiny deck of the home we've lived in for sixteen years. This table is one of the first things we bought when we moved to Virginia from New York City. I loved every second of painting this table.
A few hours later, my husband opened the back door and suggested we go for a bike ride. I gave the table a once over, touched up a few spots I had missed, and felt an overwhelming sense of love and gratitude. I'll always love that table because of this Sunday morning.