In 2002, when my son was six months old, I felt a strong but persistent tap on my shoulder to gather women and together explore the age-old question, ”How do we nurture our children … and stay true to our own needs and desires?” So, I sent out a flyer around Austin for a new group for mothers. I asked women to commit to meet with me monthly for one year to explore the practice of self-care and what it looks like to stay connected to who we are—while being mothers. The group filled in 48 hours and fifteen courageous women joined me each month on a worn-out carpeted floor in a north Austin hospital education room where we gathered in a circle to practice self and small group inquiry, engage in large group sharing, enjoy creativity and journaling exercises, welcome all our feelings, validate/support one another and occasionally sniff lavender essential oil and munch on Hershey’s kisses.
This profound, year-long “experiment” became my first Personal Renewal Group for Mothers, which at the request of my group members, led to the birth of my first book The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and a global Personal Renewal Group Program which now includes hundreds of trained RTA-Certified Facilitators and thousands of PRG members in 10 countries who meet monthly to discover how to tap the power of self-care, reconnect with our passions, build a support network, be more present and manage our energy.
I started this first group, not out of generosity, but out of necessity. After the birth of my son, Jonah, I felt alone and isolated and was craving deep, meaningful dialogue beyond breastfeeding and sleep tips. I desperately needed validation and community for what I was experiencing as a mother—and as a woman. Apparently, I wasn’t alone.
But more importantly than how self-care accidentally turned into my current passion/work is how it affects me each and every day as a wife, mother, friend, entrepreneur and creative being. In the last 10 years, I have learned how to:
• regularly slow down and attune and respond to my needs and desires moment to moment
• live more intentionally and make choices that nurture me both inside and out
• have more energy, am more fit, and have much greater body acceptance (and ease around aging)
• am more connected to myself, my family and to others and know how to “find my center”
• am a much better parent; most of the time I can go with the flow, little things don’t have to turn into mountains
• own my personal power, am not afraid to speak my voice have developed an unwavering allegiance to self
• practice self compassion, and self-kindness which allows me to feel more generous with others
What does self-care look and feel like to you? If you envision pedicures and massages when you hear these words, think again (read more). The practice of self-care has changed my life more profoundly than any other and I am grateful beyond words for this life-changing gift.
P.S. Curious about how your life might change if you tapped the power of self-care? I’d love for you to join me, Jen Lemen and an international circle of mothers Sept. 16-Oct. 25 for The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal Online Experience as together we create deep and lasting self-care ripples that affect generations to come. Just joined our community? Read a personal message from my dear friend/class co-host Jen Lemen on what it was like to spend a week with me and how she now accesses the power of self-care.
*FREE* GIVEAWAY: Want to win a free registration to The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal Online Experience (a $247 value) for you or a friend? Share what self-care means to you in the comment section below and we’ll draw a name and announce the winner on Sept. 4.