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Archive for the ‘women’s personal growth’ Category

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Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach is a wonderful book I’ve had for many years and I still take if off the shelf every now and then because there are so many beautiful kernels of wisdom and inspiration.   Just this week, I picked it up and  randomly opened it to the page for February 12 … Once Upon a Time You Trusted Yourself. I was so touched all over again that I wanted to share this idea with you.

“Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.”
– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

“Today, try to find a picture of yourself when you were about ten … travel back in time … age ten was probably the last time you trusted your instincts … Try to contact the girl you once were.  She’s all grown up now.  She’s your authentic self and she’s waiting to remind you how beautiful, accomplished and extraordinary you really are.”

In preparing for our upcoming Life on Purpose Retreat our team was looking for just the right image of a woman filled with purpose and inspiration.   It wasn’t as easy as it should have been, but we finally chose this beautiful photograph.  We felt the power and saw the beauty.   Looking closer, we realized it wasn’t a woman, but a girl.  At that age when we were still so sure of our own power, before we gave it away or hid it.   At Flourish we’re out to reclaim that power for ourselves once again.  Fearless, feisty, fabulous, flourishing.  Come join us!

“Perhaps loving something is the only starting place there is for making your life your own.”  Alice Koller

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“An amazing life requires connection”.  So says Loretta LaRoche in her wonderful book “Life is Short-Wear Your Party Pants”.  iStock_000005341958XSmallIn this crazy-busy world, we can get so caught up running in five directions at the same time, that even when we are with the people we care about most, we’re probably multi-tasking three different things.   Sometimes we forget how important it is and how nurturing, to be fully present when we are with our family, friends, co-workers or the person we meet standing in line.  Take time to make the connection.  Our fellow human beings are our companions and our community.

If life is to be a party, then we need to share the singing, dancing, chatting and laughing with those around us.  Loretta tells us that the more people we draw into our lives…the more interesting, varied, lively and fun the party will be.  I don’t know about you, but I always love a great party.  Especially the kind with funny hats and noisemakers.

Connect with kindness, compassion, empathy and good humor.  Life is truly worthy of a celebration.

Here are ten easy ways to start connecting (or re-connecting) today.

1.  Smile and share eye contact with the person in the elevator or behind you in line.

2.  Give someone a compliment – and mean it.

3.  Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time just to say hi.

4.   Spend time talking with your family during dinner.  Bring back the family dinner table.

5.  Start a conversation with the person behind the counter at your coffee shop.  Learn something about them.

6.  Call your mother!

7.   Invite someone you just met to lunch.

8.  Give a gift for no special reason other than you think the recipient would enjoy it.

9.  Tell people how much you appreciate them and what they do for you.  Go out on a limb here – your mail carrier, a fireman, your child’s teacher.  Make their day!

10.  Be thoughtful.  Hold the door and smile to the person behind you.  Let someone merge in traffic.

We are all in this together.  How much nicer a world this would be if we could all remember that.

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iStock_000004638277XSmallWe’ve been so busy enjoying these first beautiful days of Fall and then it hit us.   Yikes!  Fall!  Already!  There are only 90 days left of this year!  Where has 2009 gone and oh, by the way, where are we with all our goals and resolutions?  Hmmmm. Yep, we admit it, we might have lost our focus.  And what about you?   For many of us this has been a year of just hanging on.   Right or wrong, we’ve been a little hesitant to stretch too far out of our comfort zone, take too many risks.

Here’s a thought… since we do have 90 days left, let’s just pick ourselves and that list of goals up, dust them off, and get going.   Take another look at that list.  Do your goals still feel right?  Maybe some need to be tweaked or removed altogether?   But, here’s the point…instead of thinking “too late for this year” and crawling back under the covers, why not think about what you can still create?  Now…while it’s still 2009.

Ask yourself “What one thing can I do right now?”   Start with something small and then DO IT.   Then ask the question again and you’re on your way.  It really is easy and it really does start with taking the first step!

Here’s another great idea.  Start getting your ducks in a row now and make 2010 your breakthrough year.   

Register for the  Life on Purpose Retreat.   We guarantee you’ll get those duckies lined up and paddling into high gear.

Life on Purpose Retreat FINAL Postcard FRONT-1


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Girls can do anything!Author John Maxwell may be best known for his books on leadership, but he has studied success for over 30 years – This man knows what makes people successful and even more important,  understands that there are many different definitions of success.

In his fascinating article in Success Magazine, John explains that successful people understand their true purpose.  He believes there are two major keys to success and it comes from knowing your purpose.  First is passion ~ what are you passionate about?  What makes your heart sing?  Second is knowing your strengths ~ what are you good at?   Purpose + Passion + Strength = Success… pretty much every time.
Right on John!  We agree wholeheartedly that finding your purpose will not only allow you to reach your full potential, but also find joy on the journey.  Don’t miss this enlightening and inspiring article.  Then get energized and get going.  Your success is waiting.

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Don’t you just love those two words!  Makes you giggle just to say them.  Our upcoming Flourish event is all about being “tickled pink”, “in the pink” and all things pink & girlie – pampering, playing, indulging, shopping, eating, drinking, girlfriends, chatting, and laughing.  We’ve got it all put together into one fabulously fun afternoon in Portland’s South Waterfront at the beautiful Rilassi Coffee House.    Tickled Pink is for women of all ages who are ready to carve out a little bit of me time and get their PINK on.   Hope you can join us!

Here’s an invitation with more details or go to the Flourish website and sign up.

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deandra-retouched-whimsyDeandra is a role model for flourishing women!   She’s an amazing creative spirit with a courageous heart and a wicked sense of humor who celebrates life and lives it fully each and every day.  We asked her to share just a few of the more interesting moments of her life so far and here’s what she told us…

I’ve sold lingerie, worked a suicide hotline, was a barmaid at a Renaissance festival, read tarot cards and performed as a belly dancer. I have also been a wife, mother, feminist, artist, minister, writer, ritualist, teacher—the list just keeps growing! I follow my passions and have become a collector of experiences. I’ve never been content to let life come to me…maybe because I’m impatient, or maybe because I’m a bit of a control freak.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer helped bring this pattern into sharp relief. Prior to the diagnosis I thought I was searching for something in particular…and after the diagnosis, I realized that I was just searching. I like the act of exploring…I like my passions and they don’t have to “be productive” or have a point. I can just enjoy them.

Giving myself the freedom to play and to follow my interests has led me to reimagine both my life and my work. My current list of things that tickle my fancy include being a part of Pink Phoenix dragon boat team, organizing the super cool annual Clan Mothers Retreat on Halloween weekend, becoming a filmmaker, anything to do with PhotoShop, and the color pink. You might think I would be tired of pink considering it’s association with breast cancer, but in fact, I actually like pink more since my diagnosis. I’m working on a photography project about the color pink…can’t wait to see what I come up with! Check out my blog to see some of the projects I’ve been working on…http://dillydally.demicaro.com.

My new business, Butterfly Underground, is still underground so to speak. In a few months you will be able to see it take flight. Stay tuned!

Who is my hero? I have to admit that I adore Nancy Drew and Wonder Woman! If I could be an Amazon Princess (with cool go-go boots) and a popular detective, I would be ecstatic!

What is my favorite quote? I love quotes and picking just one is practically impossible. The one that makes me laugh is “The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’ is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was ‘involved’ but the pig was ‘committed’.”

What keeps you flourishing? Taking time in between projects to rest and renew. I tend to keep busy, so I greatly enjoy curling up with a book and a cup of tea and just relaxing.

If I were a pair of shoes… I would be a pair of Candies (fabulous heels that I wore in high school). They were made of wood candies-shoes and leather, substantial and yet sexy. And they made the greatest tapping noise when walking!

I can’t wait to… I can’t wait to launch the Betty Society, a not-so secret, secret society that I created 6 years ago and now want to take public (sort of!) It makes me giggle, and that’s enough for me.

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marian

Marion

An artist, teacher, public speaker and ceremonial priestess, Marian’s passion and mission is to change the way we face death.  She is the founder of a unique and timely new business , A Fine Farewell, that produces beautiful handmade burial and cremation shrouds.

We were truly fascinated by her story and knew you would be too, so we convinced Marian to take a little time out of her busy schedule to sit down and share her journey with us.   Here’s her amazing story in her own words…

“Once, in my twenties, a friend said ‘what if you could live your life in 10 year increments?’   We all thought about that for a while, wondering how it would work, what we’d have to give up, what we’d gain.  It was a ‘romantic’ idea in my twenties, but I was happily partnered with a small child and didn’t see how it would be applicable to me.  (The friend who’d originally posed the idea had neither partner nor children).    Still the idea stayed in my mind.    Fast forward to me now, at 55.  While it hasn’t been exactly  ten year increments,  I have, in fact, had a few different ‘career changes’ since then.

At 19, after Catholic grade school, high school and catholic college, I took a giant “left turn”, picked up a hitchhiker (I’d NEVER done that before!) and fell in love.   I quit school -and my plans to transfer and get a degree in drama, (hah! ‘drama’ was when I told my parents!’).  I moved into a hippie commune with my love.   I got pregnant, had my daughter at home, immersed myself in the studies of parenting, metaphysics, art, wicca, macrobiotics, herbal remedies, transactional analysis, natural foods cooking and general ‘groovitudinous’ living.

I had a great run with that but it fell apart in 1990-91.  Leaving my marriage, and moving to a small rural women’s community was a pretty big shift.  But there was an inner voice prompting this – a voice which I have come to recognize and trust.  (in retrospect, it was that same one that shifted me to the side of the road to pick up that hitchhiking hippie)  It always asks me to do things I can barely even think of, much less speak, but it’s quietly persistent and when I follow it, the world opens up in ways I couldn’t imagine.   (this does not preclude the 4:00 a.m. terror visitations….but I’ve learned to ride them out.)    My daughter decided to stay with her dad.   That was hard to ride out but it was the best option, given all the factors at the time.  It was a culturally ‘unsanctioned’ choice.  More lessons…and we got through our rough patch.   My 33 year old daughter and I have a wonderful relationship now.

After living at the women’s community, founding a Women’s Temple and running seasonal ceremonial events, that voice began to whisper again.  I couldn’t believe what it was saying.  “Move across the country, find a new home.”   “Get out of here!” was my response. But it was persistent.  And after several months, things at the community came undone and I could see it was time to go.

My two month trip across the country turned into a 10 month camping odyssey!   I learned that magic happens when I give up some of my agenda.  I also discovered, to my delight, that people really do want to be friendly, to be helpful, to assist a traveler along her way.   I landed in Ashland, Oregon and stayed for a time, fell in love and out of it, traveled to England for a long meditation retreat, and stayed on to work in the meditation center.  Then I got the idea to move to a community in Italy.   It was an artistic and spiritual community near the Italian Alps.   I spent a total of 7 months there, immersed in a ‘nucleo’ (family unit) with 9 others, 8 of whom  spoke little or no English.  (immersion language training!)  But no matter how I tried to shift the path I’d come to know— my wiccan/goddess/earth-based path — to fit into their teachings, ultimately it just wasn’t right for me.

Returning from this voyage, in 2001, I was exposed to the idea of “Natural Death Care” and the resonance I felt with these ideas led me to begin designing burial and cremation shrouds.   It’s been a long and meandering path but things are coming together nicely now, as the culture finally embraces the ‘green movement’.    I moved to Portland and am part of an awesome women’s entrepreneurial organization, The Savvy Collaborative, which has made all the difference in helping my business to grow.  I’m taking on more challenges with an art installation called “Over My Dead Body…Opening the Portal” (www.milepostfive.com) and an upcoming class called “Over My Dead Body…Creating a Sacred Burial Garment” .   Yes, I think you could say I’m “Flourishing”.   Writing about it helps me to stop and appreciate where I’ve been.”

We were dying to see what Marian’s thoughts were on our five famous questions.  Here’s what she had to say…

Who is your hero? My Hero…hmmm.   I have “serial heroes”.   Heroes  of the moment.   I’m inspired by people all the time and carry someone’s quote or actions in my mind for a period of time, emulating them.  So let’s see , who’s “up” right now?  I think it’s my friend ross.  (spelled  all in lower case)   She inspires me for her absolute commitment to trusting and following her heart… which has led her all over the world!  Also I admire her relentless intention to ‘find the gift’ in each situation.  She’s a great companion on the path, and a good support in remembering the power of words, reminding me to let go of old habits of diminishing speech and use my words to create my experience.  When we talk, I always come away feeling blessed!

What is your favorite quote? This changes over time, too, but a ‘repeater’ these last several months is: “Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.”   It’s from a poem called ‘The Mad Farmer Liberation Front’ by Wendell Berry.   I think I like most its implication of choice– the idea that one can choose to “BE” joyful.  And at the same time, it’s also like being given permission.  You know sometimes you get ‘down’ and then it’s hard to get back ‘up’ because it’s like ‘betraying’ your downer!  We get attached to the apparent ‘truth’ of our discouraging thoughts!  (aren’t we precious??)  This quote ‘busts’ that and says, “well ok, even if things are ‘as bad as all that’ – you still get to go ahead and be joyful! “

What keeps you flourishing? Dance!!!  Dance!!!   Connection with others (on or off the dance floor).   Making art for no reason.  And lastly, the fact that I am old enough to see that people can, and often do change.  Even the most stubborn situations or habits in my very own life have actually shifted with my own diligent attention.  This is huge, really.  This is something I just couldn’t know without being as old as I am.  So I am valuing myself at 55, for being 55…for the perspective it brings.  And did I say DANCE!

If you were a pair of shoes, what kind would you be and why? Shoes….hmmmm….  I always wear such dang sensible shoes…but  I’d love to be (and wear) a pair of handmade funky high heels…the kind with the heel not too high or too ‘skinny’.  Asymmetrically styled, two toned green and purple leather with an ankle strap.  And they’d be so comfortable that I could dance all night in ‘em.   Yeah…that’s it.

I can’t wait to… do more teaching and public speaking.  And to get my new class filled and begun!  It’s called “Over My Dead Body…Creating a sacred burial garment” !!    Starts Sept 3 runs for 8 weeks.    I also can’t wait ‘til we ALL can lighten up about Death!

Thanks Marian, we know you will “knock em dead” with all your creative endeavors!  If you would like more information about Marian’s upcoming workshop Over My Dead Body, creating a sacred burial garment, you may reach her at afinefarewell@yahoo.com or find more information on her website www.afinefarewell.com

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