I went to a local brewery last night to have a beer with a new friend. I loved her openness, honesty and how we were able to connect around what matters most to us. These days, my favorite question to ask people (whether I’ve known them for 20 years or 20 minutes) is: What makes you come alive? I love watching faces soften, open and light up. Often, just pondering this question infuses them with youthful vitality.
In 2020, after my husband and I became empty-nesters, we made a bold change—one that had been in the works for years. We left Austin, TX where we had lived for 30 years and found a permanent home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I fell in love with this region in 2014 when I came to Asheville to do a book signing. The ancient, healing, deeply feminine mountains, powerful waterfalls and rivers, and endless towering trees make me feel on fire creatively and more “me” than anywhere else I’ve lived.
What makes you come alive? What makes your body vibrate and quiver with life? It doesn’t have to be a big life change like mine. It could be small (one of the things that most lights me up here is hearing owls in the middle of the night) or it could be daring to envision a lifestyle you’ve never imagined. At the retreats I lead around the country, I consistently hear women leaders share that they often fluctuate between overwhelm and exhaustion. Others share that their lives feel rote and they often feel joyless. When I check in with my brother—an overworked father and self-employed management consultant—on how he’s doing, he often texts back: “Groundhog Day.” I understand. And I’m a big believer that when we change our environment (and our routine), we change our perspective.
Ready to feel more wild and less “safe”? Try:
- saying “yes” more than you say “no” to new opportunities (or at least pausing before you say “no!”)
- taking risks and trying things you wouldn’t normally do (swim with friends under a full moon or learn to rock climb)
- doing things differently: walk a new route to work, change your morning routine, try a new dance class
- challenging yourself to stretch, learn something new and get out of your comfort zone (I started a new business at 55!)
- living in the present as much as you can; when we can “be here now” and access all of our senses, we feel more awake and alive!
Every day I make it a priority to keep choosing things that make me feel alive: dancing, exploring new trails, writing songs and singing, cold plunges in the Davidson River, speaking my truth in the moment and not holding back creatively. My friend Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy (SARK), one of the foremost teachers on living a creative life and author of Make Your Creative Dreams Real, says, “Being tame is what we’re taught: put the crayons back, stay in line, don’t talk too loud, keep your knees together, nice girls don’t. As you might know, nice girls DO, and they like to feel wild and alive. Being tame feels safe; being wild, unsafe. Yet safety is an illusion anyway. We are not in control. No matter how dry and tame and nice we live, we will die. And we will suffer along the way. Living wild is its own reward.”
This month I challenge you to reflect: what makes you come alive? And then full-heartedly go and do that.
WANT SUPPORT FOR COMING HOME TO YOURSELF? HERE ARE THREE OPPORTUNITIES:
- *ALMOST FULL; EARLY BIRD ENDS 10/20* Oct. 26 – Jan. 26 ~ Cultivating Grace, Power & Intuition: A Women’s Self-Renewal Program. An in-person 13-week journey/experience in Brevard, NC, 45 min. from Asheville. This experiential program meets for 8 Thur. evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Open to women of all ages. Learn more/register.
- Wild Souls Nature Adventures (based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC): authentic movement classes, community song circles, full moon hikes, meditation workshops, women’s circles & more. New offerings are listed each week; have me design a custom experience for your team/friends. Join us Sunday, Oct. 22 for Wild Souls Authentic Movement class near Asheville, NC. Learn more.
- Dec. 21, 6:30 – 9 p.m. ET. Sing to Me Sweetly: An Evening of Poetry, Song & Stillness ~ a virtual Winter Solstice mini retreat. Only $59. This will be recorded for you to enjoy throughout Winter. Details/registration coming soon!
- Download your self-guided retreat today ~ Ready to prioritize your self-care, relax your body and enjoy empowering mentoring from Renee 24/7 from the comfort of your home, car or office? Our highly popular self-paced online retreats are only $59. Download & enjoy today. Learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, Renee has been facilitating high-impact, interactive workshops for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits/conferences and organizations/teams worldwide for 25 years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 450 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups/retreats based on her pioneering self-care curriculum. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She and her husband live in Western North Carolina and Austin, Texas; her latest venture is Wild Souls Nature Adventures. More on Renee here.