In 2002, when my son was six months old, I felt a strong but persistent tap on my shoulder from my Wise Self to gather women and explore the age-old question, ”How do we nurture our children and stay true to our own needs and desires?”
My plate was full with running Career Strategists, but finally I took the plunge and sent a flyer around Austin about a new group for mothers. I invited women to commit to meeting monthly for one year to explore the practice of self-care and how it impacts our ability to feel more balanced. The group filled in 48 hours and fifteen courageous women joined me on a worn-out carpeted floor in a north Austin hospital education room for our first session. We gathered monthly in a circle and practiced self and small group inquiry, large group sharing, creativity, visioning and journaling exercises. We welcomed all our feelings, validated and supported one another in a judgment-free zone while rubbing lavender essential oil on our arms and drinking herbal tea.
This profound, year-long “experiment” became my first Personal Renewal Group (PRG) 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: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life and eventually, a global Personal Renewal Group Program which now includes hundreds of trained RTA-Certified Facilitators and thousands of PRG members in 10 countries. These women meet monthly to discover how to tap the power of self-care, reconnect with their passions, build a support network, be more present and manage their 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 organically became my passion/livelihood is how it affects me each and every day as a wife, mother, friend, entrepreneur and creative being. In the last 15 years, the practice of self-care has taught me how to:
• pause, 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, feel better and have greater body acceptance (and ease around aging)
• be more connected to myself, my family and to others; and, to know how to “find my center” in the midst of chaos
• be a 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, speak my voice and develop 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.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR LEARNING THE ART & SCIENCE OF SELF-CARE:
- Would you love to gather each month with like-minded women who desire to make self-care part of their daily lives? Find out more about our 15-year-old global Personal Renewal Group Program and consider joining a group or becoming a RTA-Certified Facilitator and leading groups/retreats for women in your area (we’re extending our $100 off RTA-Certified Facilitator Training special through 5/31/17, plus it includes private coaching with Renee!).
- Not a group person? Pick up one of my books or download one of my self-care audio classes and enjoy personal, timely support and resources from the comfort of your car, home or office anytime you like! Learn more.
- Craving deep to-the-bones rest and renewal in an empowering, supportive and nurturing environment? Join me at an upcoming retreat. Our retreats always sell out, so don’t wait to register (check out our bring a friend special for the Austin, TX May 12 Mother’s Day retreat!)
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by coach/author and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Renee’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal group based on her award-winning curriculum. She leads workshops/retreats around the globe and is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 15-year-old son. More on her background here.