Today I was overwhelmed with gratitude and so humbled to spend the day at the Inova Schar Cancer Institute ~ Washington Football Team All-Star Survivors event at the Lansdowne Resort with my gorgeous mother-in-law by my side. A huge shout out to Inova Health System, the Washington Football Team's Charitable Foundation and Women of Washington for putting together such a special event, to NERAK Natural Essence for their amazing post-radiation products, Gap for the fabulous jeans, The IIIBs Foundation for surprising countless women (like they surprised me four years ago) with their Bosom Buddy Baskets, Lansdowne Resort for the facial, Esme at MAB Artistry for the makeup, Kendra Scott for the beautiful necklace, and so many more generous sponsors, vendors and volunteers who made the day so special for me. THE STORIES I HEARD FROM OTHER SURVIVORS FILLED ME WITH HOPE, AWE AND INSPIRATION. I’ll have much more to say here in the coming days. But this Breast Cancer Awareness month, tell your stories, know your bodies, get your mammograms, eat plants, move your bodies, and advocate for yourselves, your mothers, your sisters, your daughters, your family members and your friends. #fightlikeagirl
BOOK YOUR FALL EVENTS NOW! I know it’s only August, but the fall calendar is starting to fill up. I am available (in person or virtually) to speak and/or lead workshops and retreats at your company, school, church or community organization on topics such as workplace wellness, stress management, food allergies, wellness, inflammation, healthy lifestyle habits, handling the holidays and coping with “the new normal.” I also do private events, cooking demos (with wine tasting options) and more. Contact me for more information and pricing.
I have something SO FUN to share! For the participants in the Plant-Based Reboot: a private AUTUMN EQUINOX celebration on the evening of September 22nd, which just happens to coincide with the final days of the Reboot. This will be a time of reflection, goal-setting, gentle movement, food, mocktails & wine, all to ready ourselves for the season ahead. Please join us by securing your Reboot spot HERE. (NOTE the Reboot is free for Members, RSVP in the Members Area.)
The other day, my client told me she had decided to prioritize summer. Me too. Let's do it together!
Summer is COMING, y'all! And back by popular demand: Wellness Feast's free workshops! It's no secret how much I love Greenheart Juice Shop. So join me for SUMMER LOVIN' ~ Healthy Habits to Help You THRIVE. I'm going to get very specific about caring for your mind, body and spirit during the hot months. It's Sunday, May 23rd from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on the Greenheart lawn (across from their Vienna shop, 208 Dominion Rd. NE, by the caboose on the W&OD trail). Be sure to bring a lawn chair and a towel (for a little mindful movement led by my friend Shannon from Group X Virtual Team). Greenheart will have a free juice tasting and a little surprise for you! Sign up here ~ can't wait to see you. (And don't forget, you can follow Wellness Feast on Facebook and Instagram so you don't miss a thing!)
Yesterday, my husband and I went to a party. A PARTY! After fourteen months at home, it felt so strange to dress up, pick up my purse, tell the kids to order Chipotle, and jump in the car. All the guests were fully vaccinated, and it was a small, outdoor Kentucky Derby party. But it still felt strange. And wonderful.
Someone there asked me what I do. Of course. Maybe one day I'll write another post about how I've forgotten how to do small talk, and I'm not sure I want to remember how. I might be done with small talk.
Anyway, after I explained that I'm a health coach and a life coach, he said, "So, you like, tell people what to eat and stuff?" I said, no, I don't put people on programs. I help people get clear on their goals and change their habits to reach those goals. I also mentioned that the vast majority of people who come to me for health coaching really end up here for life coaching. Which includes health, of course, but also so many other things. "Oh. So, helping people get their $h!t together?" Nope. Not that either. But at least we weren't doing small talk anymore.
And it did get me thinking. When you work with a coach, you're not being told what to do. You're being guided to open up to possibility. Your possibilities.
When I was in my early 30s, I was at my gynecologist's office, of all places, complaining to her about my job. I was there because my husband and I had recently decided to start a family. And somehow I ended up talking about how what I thought was important had changed. I didn't hate practicing law, but I felt a little like I was going through the motions. She said, "You know what you need? A life coach!" I was like, a WHAT?! That sounds ridiculous. Especially in 2002, when there weren't many coaches around. The industry, as you know, has since taken off.
Do I wish I had taken her advice? Maybe. But my wonderful life had a way of helping me along. Intuition kicked in when I needed it. I made mistakes. I made just as many wonderful choices. Plus, complex relationships, cancer, children, a global pandemic, for God's sake . . . these things all served me well in their own way.
So what's a coach? A coach is the person who will ask you questions to help you pause and hear your intuition. To open your heart. To be vulnerable. To set boundaries. To seek all the things your heart desires, while walking that delicious fine line between loving and caring for yourself, while loving and caring for your neighbor and your community. To drop the limiting beliefs and silence the vicious self-talk. To dream big and be present for the small.
It doesn't mean life won't bring you heartache and struggle. But you'll be able to face it, to lean on yourself and the people who love you, and to use those moments to build your big beautiful, messy life.
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.