Things which matter most, should never be at the mercy of things which matter least. --Goethe
Thirty days before my wedding day, my mother died suddenly from congestive heart failure brought on by a case of the flu.
She was healthy, active and sixty years old. The loss hit hard, following the unexpected death of my father four years earlier and my brother four years before that.
I am a different person because of these losses.
They say losing a parent has a life-changing effect on you. For me, these deaths were catalysts for how I see the world and who I decided to become in the world.
Most of us have, at some point, been touched by a life-changing event. It may have been a birth, a death, a divorce, an illness, a job loss, a financial challenge or a natural catastrophe. (Our inbox and voice mail were flooded with calls from new clients after the 9/11 tragedy; the incident was a call to many to awaken and pursue the career and life they had always wanted!)
If real growth is to come from a major life tragedy or change, the question to ask ourselves is how will I use this experience to impact who I become in the world?
For me, the premature loss of immediate family members left me with a sense of urgency and clarity about how important it is to really live the life you desire—now.
I love the question Stephen Levine poses in his book, A Year to Live: Living This Year As If It Were Your Last, “What if you knew this was your last year on the planet? How would that awareness change your perspective and the choices you make on a day-to-day basis?”
It makes me wonder. Would you treat your spouse differently? Would your conversations with your friends change? Is there something you would take action on that you’ve been postponing until the time is right? Would you interact differently with your children?
Many respond that overwhelmingly, they would want to be more present in their relationships and in all that they do. (Read more about this theme in Being Present and Remembering What Really Matters, Chapter 12 from The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal.)
But, being present is a challenge for all of us. It’s easy to engage the “hamster on the wheel” and find ways to avoid the present moment. Personally, I find it helpful to pause often and ask the following questions:
- In this moment, am I living in the past, present or future? (If I’m feeling stressed, I’m either living in the past or the future. There is no stress in the present moment.)
- A year from now, will this (task, job, event, hurdle) really matter?
- In this moment, what is most important to me?
- Does this really have to get accomplished today (this month, this year)?
Finally, be easy on yourself. We live in a 24/7 culture that is overly focused on multi-tasking and producing. Most of us were never taught that being is just as important as doing and that when we slow down, we’re actually more effective.
Lastly, the phrase that keeps running around our office lately is “relationships first, things (deadlines, projects) second.” Our time on planet earth is short, you never know if the conversation you have with a family member or friend today, might be your last.
Note from Sara, RTA Events Manager: Renee is masterful at leading private, powerful customized half, full day or weekend workshops or retreats for companies, organizations and groups (her recent Kripalu retreat sold out and had a waiting list!). You can learn more about private retreats here or about her speaking/workshop topics, here . I’d love to help you schedule a spring or summer 2011 event. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-459-6700 to check Renee’s availability.
Upcoming Events and Training:
- October 1-31 DOWNLOAD AND LISTEN NOW: Monthly Live Inside Out Teleclasses. Listen in the comfort of your home or office to Renee’s recent Life Balance Teleclasses. Download these inspiring, interactive calls; themes include: The Power of Self-Care, Owning Your Personal Power and Staying Connected to Your Partner.
October 1-31 PRG Online Facilitator Training Lead self-renewal life coaching groups for women around The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal. **Special Offer** Use the code 100 OFF for October only and receive a $100 discount off the cost of your training membership. The fall months and January are great times to launch Personal Renewal Groups.
October 14 7:30 - 8:30 p.m., CST. FREE Live Inside Out Teleclass (via telephone). Theme: Being Present and Remembering What Really Matters. Join author/life coach Renee Trudeau, guest Carolyn Scarborough, author of Backyard Pearls: Cultivating Wisdom and Joy in Everyday Life, and women from around the world in a "virtual living room" as we explore how to slow down, live more intentionally and be more present. Register and receive details here .
November 5 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. CST Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: A One Day Self-Renewal Retreat at Lost Pines Hyatt Resort and Spa with Renee Trudeau. Nurture and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Enjoy special presentations from authors Deb Kern and Dianna Amorde. Ideal for women in career/life transition. Special spa and lodging discounts available. Learn more here; download flyer here.
Are you a therapist, coach, doula or women's empowerment advocate who loves supporting women and helping them nurture their emotional well-being? Learn more about becoming a PRG Facilitator and join a national community of leaders who are changing women's lives through powerful life coaching groups centered around The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal.
Did you know Renee travels around the world speaking to corporations, organizations and at national conferences on Creating Balance from the Inside Out (and other related topics)? Learn more about having Renee speak at your next event, workshops or conference. We're scheduling spring and summer events now.
Visit our online calendar to learn about upcoming self-renewal retreats and events.