Remember—your to-do list is immortal. It will live on long after you’re dead. Author/mind-body expert Joan Borysenko, PhD
Throughout my twenties and early thirties, I can honestly say that most of the time I was walking around with low grade anxiety. I just never knew it.
I thought feeling “not good enough” at work (even though I was exhibiting extreme outward success), succumbing daily to “shoulds,” agreeing to take on volunteer tasks and outside requests I didn’t truly have the bandwidth for, navigating and often tolerating relationships and friendships that didn’t feed me, frequently having tight shoulders and an upset stomach, and flying through my days often feeling tired, unsettled and restless, was normal. (In retrospect, I see now that my “busy-ness” was a way to indulge and distract myself from what I was really feeling below the surface. Read my blog post on doing vs. being.)
I assumed this was what we call “life.” You celebrated when the sun was shining and ran for cover when the storms came, but overall, your daily experience of life was beyond your control.
Yesterday, I visited with a management executive about presenting a work/life balance workshop to his employees. We talked for a while about the concept of wellness and he chuckled when I asked how he defined well-being. “Oh yeah, I try to eat my apple a day and jog a couple times a week.” But, he looked at me quizzically when I persisted and asked if he was familiar with the concept of emotional and spiritual well-being (read more about this topic).
My life now is so vastly different than it was ten years ago, that I need these reality checks. These reminders that all the baby steps, hard choices and daily pivotal life/career decisions I’ve made—and continue to make—to enhance my sense of inner and outer harmony have deeply impacted how I experience being on the planet on a day-to-day basis. (More here on my journey and the strategies that help me today.)
If this conversation is raising questions for you, I challenge you to ask yourself:
- On a scale of one to ten (one being I’m about to have a nervous breakdown and ten being I’m feeling pretty blissed out), how would you rate your current state of emotional health on most days?
- On an average day, how do you feel physically (pause, close your eyes for a minute, breathe and put your hands on your solar plexus)? Do you habitually have tight shoulders, feel nauseous or experience discomfort in your chest (the current research on the mind-body connection is irrefutable)?
- How connected do you feel to yourself and others? Do you feel like you’re part of something bigger?
- Has life become one big to-do list? Do you feel like a robot mechanically moving from task to task? Be honest with yourself.
- What gives your life meaning? Where do you derive your sense of purpose from? Do you feel like you can trust the “flow of life?” Do you feel safe and that good is coming to you (I love the mantra, “The Universe is conspiring in my favor”)?
As you explore these questions, I encourage you to do so with the utmost compassion and curiosity. I often challenge clients to don their lab coats and observe their responses as if they’re conducting a science experiment. Twenty lashes never helps bring about positive change, but a gentle approach towards self often opens locked doors with ease.
What arises for you? If you were to pause, close your eyes, place both hands over the center of your chest and ask yourself, “What do I need to adopt or release to enhance my ‘inner’ well-being and sense of peace?” --what insights or wisdom would surface? I’m a big believer that the answers lie within us; we just need to get quiet enough to hear them.
I am preparing to take a writing sabbatical beginning in early June to research, explore and write about practical ways we can all enhance our emotional and spiritual health in our everyday lives.
I’ve been very emotional this month as I’ve shared with colleagues why I feel this theme is so timely and key—especially for families—and I’m taking this as a positive sign I’m headed in the right direction (it’s said if you want to know where your life purpose lies, pay attention to what brings tears to your eyes!).
Thanks for keeping me in your prayers as I embark on this new project and I’d love to hear how you enhance your emotional and spiritual well-being on a daily basis (please share your comments here).
Warmly—Renee and the RTA Team
PS I hope you can join me May 17 for our Life Balance Teleclass on Cultivating Inner Peace in Everyday Life with my friend Carrie Contey, PhD or if you’re a small business owner in Texas, join me May 20 for my Empowered Entrepreneur Business Visioning Retreat. I’ll be unplugging in June and July to write but look forward to seeing you again in late summer or early fall.
Upcoming Events and Training:
- May 1-31 Personal Renewal Group Online Facilitator Training Are you a therapist, coach, parent or birth educator, leadership consultant or women's empowerment advocate who loves supporting women and helping them nurture their emotional well-being? Join an international community and facilitate self-renewal groups/retreats for women based on the award-winning The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal. Learn more. Email Sara@reneetrudeau.com to learn about our special May Mother’s Day offer.
May 17 Tuesday 7:30-8:30 p.m. CST
Live Inside Out Life Balance Teleclass with Renee Trudeau. The theme this month is:
Cultivating Inner Peace in Everyday Life with special guest Carrie Contey, PhD . Join women from around the world as we reconnect with who we are, cultivate self-compassion and learn to live more intentionally. Learn more and register here.
May 20 Friday 9:00-1:00 p.m. Envision, Align and Expand: A Business Planning Retreat for Empowered Entrepreneurs. Casa de Artistas, south Austin. Gain clarity and focus on your business goals, receive laser coaching/feedback, tap Renee’s favorite, most powerful exercises and tools, leave inspired, focused and ready to work with renewed passion and clarity. Led by small business strategist Renee Trudeau at a small, quiet, private retreat center in Austin. Limited to 8 people. Cost: $249. Details/register. Email email@example.com to check availability.
- June 7-July 30 Self-Care as a Spiritual Practice: A Women’s Group led by Renee Trudeau. A small, powerful group coaching “mastermind” experience based in Austin. The Group is limited to 8 women and is ideal for those who are birthing a new way of being or wanting to bring forth a creative project or idea. Six meetings, Tuesday evenings, meets in South Austin. Cost: $395. For information and to inquire if there is still space, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- June 17 Private Engagement: “Creating Balance in an Unbalanced World” with Renee Trudeau for Texans Care for Children Leadership Retreat
July 29 Friday 9:30-Noon The Career Strategy Workshop: Find a Fit, Create a Plan, Love Your Work
A small, dynamic group-coaching workshop focused on helping you strategically map out your next steps and find work that is a “fit” for you. You will also receive support via our online Career Center, a complimentary coaching session and a subscription to the Career Strategist’s job leads service. **BONUS** receive a free DIY Job Search Toolkit (a $99 value) when you register by July 15th. Class size is limited. CLICK HERE to learn more/register online.
- October 14 - 16 , Friday-Sunday: Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: A Women's Self-Renewal Retreat, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, The Berkshires, MA. Nurture and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Tap the Transformative Power of Self-Care. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance expert, coach and author Renee Trudeau at beautiful Kripalu. Ideal for women in career/life transition. Details here. Our last Kripalu retreat sold out; register today!
- Private Customized Retreats: Renee is masterful at creating/facilitating empowering half, full day or weekend workshops or retreats for companies, organizations and groups (her recent Lost Pines Self Renewal Retreat and her Kripalu retreat sold out and had a waiting list!). You can learn more about private retreats here or about her speaking/workshop topics, here. Email Sara Bogan, events manager at email@example.com or call 512-459-6700 to check Renee’s availability.
You may reprint this newsletter in its entirety provided you include at the end: Renee Peterson Trudeau is a life balance coach/speaker and author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. You can download free book chapters, receive life balance tips or learn about upcoming events at www.ReneeTrudeau.com. Facebook: LiveInsideOut.