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Just to Share Live with Purpose! Movement Spirituality Uncategorized

Walk & Talk through Spring!

Greetings!

We are moving along through Spring and, for you astrology fans, Taurus season. The new births of plants and animals capture our attention. Babies of all types – ducklings, chicks, lambs, calves, cubs and kits – are popping up along with sprouts. The swallows have returned to their nests on our patio supports and over the doors. The land is awake and ready to receive new seeds. As I have been driving and observing, there are many realms, or layers, of life and living going on simultaneously. While we mow our grass and walk the trails, all manner of natural world beings are also emerging to continue their life journey.

It’s interesting and important to note that for the first time in more than thirty years, several of the major religions have recently observed holidays, and holy days and weeks, concurrently: Easter, Passover, and Ramadan just to name the more familiar ones. They call us to recognize our connectedness and our intimate relationships. The world is round and there is no “away.”

Indeed, we are part of this world: natural first and then human-made. The natural is our very essence, the substance within which we are created and continually creating. But to continually create, we have to find daily ways to keep ourselves in “right relationship” with the Earth and the fullness thereof to learn by observing and communing with all of God’s Creation. The reawakening of Spring’s gifts once again reminds me of the many opportunities God gives us to observe and commune with nature, to seek out the nature allies (or, for some people, the animal spirits) that are present and available to support us on life’s journey.

Each week SoulSpeak offers guided two-hour and three-hour Walking Sessions in our wonderful parks and trails system. Our Spring Walks provide chances to notice and see the reemergence of Spring’s sprouts; to discover, connect, and reconnect with our nature allies; and opportunities to share whatever is sprouting or emerging within you.

Come walk with me. You can reach me at Facebook:/SoulSpeak915 or through email at prcrite@gmail.com. I look forward to walking and talking with you.

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Uncategorized

Are you ready to take a walk!?!

Hello Friends,

 We are experiencing pre-spring, and the fluctuations in temperature are just one sign. I was looking up into the sky paying attention to the changing cloud patterns and increasing bird movements. I wondered what the sky told our ancestors (mostly our grand and great grandparents); when the natural world was the information system, and it was also ever changing and always communicating with them.

 In days past, we relied upon the wisdom and perceptiveness of our elders, soothsayers, medicine people and spiritual leaders to interpret our world and our place in it. In the modern western world, many of us have shifted to other experts. The unfortunate loss in this is our intimate involvement with each other and our environment. Often, we go outside to use the natural world to fill in the gaps and spaces in our inner lives. We use our parks, and waterways, yet seldom truly enter them as equal inhabitants worthy of our consideration and respect.

Ecotherapy, as an emerging practice, is another system available to assist an individual in and through difficult emotions and experiences. Ecotherapy asks both the client and the adviser/guide to enter a third-party arrangement. This means the natural world is also engaged in the search for wholeness and relief. Ecotherapy requires that all human parties involved, ask the other than human inhabitants; plants, animals, insects, birds, etc., permission to enter the liminal space and request their assistance. Ecotherapy is a means of leveling the playing field and re-structuring the perceptions of the human participants. The beauty of this whole activity is that each time we step into the natural world from this perspective, a new magical experience occurs. We are each changed.

As we spring into Spring, pay attention to the risings taking place within you. As we feel more sunlight, our inner seeds also begin to push open. As you make way for the new growth, remember to gently remove the old. Just as you will clear flower beds, gardens, and yards, take time to do this within. With the support of ecotherapy and its tools, I am available to support you into the new. Contact me and we can schedule your first session.

Are you ready to take a walk?

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Uncategorized

Ecotherapy … is it for you?

Greetings!

We are well into and almost through with 1/12 of the year, the month of January. This is the month of Janus, the god that looked at the past and the future. I found myself as the new year began, feeling anxious and stressed. Maybe you did as well. I recognized that while I thought myself immune to the blitz of new year talk from all the various media and social sources, I had still been infected or affected by the hype. So much stress on creation and manifestation! I doubt this really helps or assists us in discovering and creating the next chapters of our lives.

Well, I’m inviting you to join me on a little journey. It’s peaceful and at your pace (and mine). This journey is supported by the presence of the natural world and a process known as ecotherapy. So let me begin in the middle.

I attended a Unity conference in 1998 or 1999 in Portland Oregon. Could have been 1997. Anyway, I was introduced to the process of walking with a focus on meditation and spiritual connections. The book “The Spirited Walker” by Carolyn Scott Kortge gave me a foundation for providing supportive spiritual work with individuals and small groups. This was a synchronistic piece for me considering the grand vision for my life is creating and operating a retreat center. As the story and journey continue, you might recognize that our life’s work is truly intended for just that, our entire life. Pieces continue to appear as life goes on. Moving forward through the next twenty years, pieces and people appeared to remind me of my vision and that I was still on the path. The Universal Mind/God/The Divine was still present with me, and my prayers were still being I answered. Well, you’re probably thinking how does this apply to now?

I continue to pursue my vision over the highways and byways with the most recent addition to my vision work the completion of certification in Ecotherapy. Through the coursework and process of earning the Level I Certification in Ecotherapy I discovered even greater passion for the natural world, my place in it and my life purpose, supporting people through life transitions, big and small. The goal: reconnecting ourselves, our humanness, to the natural world and our place in it and creating the life you want to live. There’s more to come concerning Ecotherapy, how it will assist you and how to get started working with me.

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Access Your Life! Own Your Life!

What are you resolving to do in 2022?

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Access Your Life! Orientation Retirement Spirituality Uncategorized

New ways of life are manifesting

It will come as no surprise to anybody for me to say that … a LOT has happened since I last posted on LOACA Life’s Blog site!! Life has changed for all of us in ways we never could have imagined.

I already thought my retirement had been anything but smooth. I was already wandering around in the wilderness looking for the path that would lead me to discover the retirement-life person I was supposed to be. What was my new purpose? Little did I know that rather than orienting, I was about to be thrown into a huge disorienting place (along with all of you!). In reality I had been in a place of disorientation since I made the decision to retire! I was moving further into a larger place of disorientation and disorder!

According to Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and contemporary theologian, we are now living out a time of Order, Disorder, and Reorder.* In these recurring times, we find ourselves in what is called liminal space. These are the spaces in between what was and what has not yet come. We go through smaller and larger times of liminal space all of our lives. That is where we find ourselves now in the midst of a huge global time of disorientation, change, crumbling understandings of how we live our lives, much divisiveness, and a very uncertain path. 

I am reminded here of my retirement mantra. Three years out from my retirement that mantra, “Not all who wander are lost” still gives me some hope! It has been a time of much sickness, death, upheaval, injustices, and much grief, sadness, and sorrow. However, wandering in the liminal space is not all bad and indeed opens the door to much possibility for fresh new perspectives and change that has needed to happen for a long time. If we are willing to listen and try new things there is possibility for something good to come out of the ashes of the grief and sorrow. 

We are in the midst of these difficult times as Ladies Of A Certain Age, whether or not we want to be – or even recognize that we are. The best way to orient ourselves is to be open to the new ways of life that are manifesting. LOACA women are already in a time of change, aging, and reorienting! We are uniquely positioned to move forward in the new ways of being that are before us!

What I found during my time of Sheltering in Place for over a year due to the Corona Virus, and in the midst of such global disorder, was a new sense of contentment. As an extrovert living almost like a hermit no one was more surprised than me! This contentment did not always keep the anxiety and fears at bay, but it helped me to come back to a realization that even in the midst of chaos, contentment is possible with a willingness to change our focus and perspective. This does not mean we are not sad, grieving, and even angry at what is happening. It means we can find a place of balance and resilience in the midst of the emotions we are feeling.

On my daily Seize the Day calendar, the quote was:

“A contented heart is an even sea in the midst of all storms.”

Anonymous

How is this possible?

In about 62 AD, a man named Paul, who was one of Jesus’ earliest followers, wrote a letter to the congregation in Philippi, Greece. In the four Chapter, he writes:

I am not saying [these things] because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him [Jesus] who gives me strength.

Verses 11-13 of Chapter 4 in The Bible’s New Testament Book Philippians

The Wisdom Pattern: Order, Disorder, Reorder by Richard Rohr, OFM (Franciscan Media, 2020)

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Create Opportunities! Own Your Life!

Finding It in Grief

“And when I look at these poems and do not know how I wrote them, or if I would have the capacity to write a strong poem again, I feel concerned. What will disappear next?” Melissa Broder, in Paris Review


I do not know, generally, how I create art. The not-knowing is scary because if I don’t know how I do it, how will I keep doing it? It. Such a small word, so fragile.

I get these intense bursts of inspiration that literally pick me up and move my body. I get excited that It‘s back. This wild amazing creation explodes in my mind and it’s the most exhilarating thing. Too often, though, by the time I’m halfway to the studio or the keyboard, I’m slogging through quicksand, and It’s just gone

One time, God showed me His house and He told me to do Art for Him and He told me to paint His furniture, so I did. A new It was born in me after several years of living without in a creative desert. But the quicksand of life sure does grab and stick.

I accepted a commission and then almost immediately couldn’t do the work. Right after I wrote that I was on top of the world my husband started a rapid decline in his cognitive function.

He has a traumatic brain injury from a 2009 motorcycle accident, made worse by a 2017 collision with a driver who turned on his cruise control and passed out drunk. I’ve been secretly expecting this decline to happen ever since he was diagnosed and I learned that he would probably die early with dementia because of it.

He started forgetting to take his meds. Then he took his morning meds twice in one day and slept for 20 hours. He forgot to do the self-care that he had been doing on his own. I was firmly entrenched in my projects and I was not prepared to do all the new things that he needed me to do for him.

Mostly, I felt like I was about to be lost at sea. I know that because of his multiple TBIs, my husband will probably get Alzheimer’s and die early. But I wasn’t ready for it. He’s only 47!

I spent several weeks in June completely defeated. ‘I gave up on so much to take care of him, and now he’s going to be more than I can handle soon, and I’ll be alone,’ I thought. ‘I won’t be able to stay faithful if he’s gone. I won’t want to visit him wherever he has to go to get the proper care. It’ll be a horrible place because he’s on Medicaid and disabled and I’m a horrible wife.’

That was my mind for a month. And then his doctor discovered that his blood pressure was dangerously low. As soon as we changed his meds, I had my husband back, literally overnight. It’s been almost a month, and I’m just now getting back to myself, but I’m different. I mourned the loss of my husband for a few weeks and then suddenly he was fine. As fine as he’s been.

Even though most of the time he’s this guy who resembles the love of my life who lives in a recliner and watches videos nonstop while I live this crazy life around him, sometimes he’s the scary-smart ambitious mastermind I married and lived with for such a short time before he got hit by a car and died. I’m not ready to lose that rare guy for good. Those times I get to have him are a gift.

So Spirit told me lots of things as I recovered from thinking I was about to lose my soulmate for good. One of the things was about not being afraid to go for it no matter what the audience might think.

There were a few times during the June blood pressure episode and the July recovering that I had things to write about, things to create. I got the intense pull of inspiration and would be waylaid immediately by the piles of clutter in my studio from not having the energy to put things away, or the need to find out where that smell was coming from, or the need to feed an angry frantic man, or to just go cry because I could see how awful he felt and it hurt my heart too much to continue.

One of the things that waylaid me was the fear of the reader not understanding what I was talking about, or my revealing more about my inner life than I was comfortable with. While I prayed and cried and begged for more time, Spirit addressed those fears and told me that hiding what’s the real essence of my life is over. So, I’m going to write about obeying and listening, and following a plan that I have no idea about because it’s not my plan, but it’s the plan that is right for me.

And if the reader thinks I’m off my rocker because I talk to God, well, honestly at this point, being afraid of that seems silly. God regularly takes me and does things with me that cause me to grow so fast it makes my head spin. And our parents were right when they said that struggle brings about character. He uses the struggles of me thinking I’m losing my husband and having that change so fast I can’t catch up and shows me that waiting around for it to feel right is getting me nowhere.

I want to be a public artist. I want people to see the things and read the things I’ve been given to create and write about. Because it’s not about doing art and sticking it behind doors anymore. It’s about being a window, about letting the art and the words out. It’s about leaving the window open and letting you see that I talk to God and He tells me how to do just about everything when I’m not too self-absorbed to listen.

It’s about letting you see that I repeat the same struggles over and over because the answers aren’t the ones I like, so I try it again my way. It’s about letting myself off the hook for taking a month to recover from the rollercoaster life of a TBI wife. I actually kind of want you to know me because I want to know you. I’m tired of being alone in this house, with my quicksand. Let’s hang out.

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Access Your Life! Encouragement Own Your Life! Retirement

Orienteering to a new life

On July 1, 2018 I entered onto a most unfamiliar course. I retired at age 71!!

That day I journeyed from a familiar, well-traveled course where I knew what I was doing, who I was, and what my gifts and skills were … that day I began journeying on unfamiliar course to what I would find was a wilderness place.

I launched on this journey exhausted. I had just downsized over half of my belongings while working my normal 50-70 hours a week and always being always on call. Yet when I finally got to a rest stop I found myself one hundred miles away with a garage full of boxes, no office, no title, no colleagues and coworkers just down a hallway, no daily structure, and … quiet. Actually, the quiet part was really nice!!!

It didn’t take long for me to drop a heavy box on my big toe, resulting in a lost toenail a few months later. In the middle of September I fell and broke/crushed my shoulder, resulting in a reverse shoulder replacement … a high-fracture risk diagnosis due to significant osteoporosis … high blood pressure … very high glucose levels (I was diagnosed with diabetes less than two months before retirement began but now the numbers were spiking) … months of physical therapy (which resulted in sciatic issues from the exercises) and, as though all of that wasn’t enough …an issue with the meniscus behind my knee from climbing on an elliptical….

And, oh, I almost forgot to mention that one of the first surgeons I saw after crushing my shoulder walked into the room and his first words were “I hope you now how badly you have damaged yourself….”

Damaged.

It felt like my whole life had been damaged! In less than three months, the previously strong, confident, knowledgeable understanding of myself had changed into a “damaged, aging, exhausted old woman” who for months wouldn’t be able to put on her makeup or fix her hair, would have trouble getting dressed, and who would find herself living in elastic-waisted pants!!

I was truly on an unfamiliar course, wandering on a wilderness road I had no idea how to navigate! I was in between what was and what would eventually be. I needed to ascertain my bearings; acquaint myself with the environment I seemed to have landed in; and adjust to the facts of my current situation.

Ascertain. Acquaint. Adjust. These are part of the definition for the word orient, as in orienting oneself. When I was asked to consider writing this Blog on the concept of orienteering, I wasn’t even sure what that meant (and, honestly, I am still working on it)! What I’ve come to know without a doubt, though, is that I was in need of orienteering myself to a new way of life.

My mantra for my retirement was: “Not all those who wander are lost.” I knew I would need to wander for a while in the new retirement environment, but those first six months were not what I had in mind!!

You may know that my Retirement Mantra is a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s a line in a longer poem that now seems quite appropriate, although I hadn’t seen the longer quote until recently.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

Although I’ve lifted this out of the context of J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythical world, it does ultimately reflect a lot of the hope that I have as I reorient from my “damaged” life.

It’s taken a lot of new work, learning, and prayer. The doctor I ultimately found to do the surgery (not the “damaging” one) came in to do the normal now-which-shoulder-is-it? check just before the surgery. As he checked and marked my arm, he saw the tattoo on my wrist and asked me what it meant. I told him it was the Tree of Life and represented my faith journey. He said, “Well let’s breathe some new life into this arm!!!”

And the journey began from damage to new life. It is a continuing journey. One that will take more time and reflection.

Join me next month to learn how my orienteering pilgrimage began and where I am on the unfolding journey!

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Access Your Life!

Bliss on the Go

On the way home from a sales meeting, my new manager praised me for my confidence. She went into detail about the way I look, my energy level and valuable work experience. My mood immediately improved as I responded to this unexpected display of admiration.

I am courageous, I explained. I take on situations most people wouldn’t want to. I always have and always will. Why? I learned courage by moving every one to two years of my childhood. Over and over, I was the new kid. I had to prove myself to teachers, classmates and coaches. I didn’t see failure as an option. Thus, I stretched myself, working hard in school, trying new sports and volunteering. Most of the time, I succeeded. Then, I got to do it all again at a new school in a different part of the country. These repeated efforts built my confidence and gave me courage.

What if I had grown up in one town and had lifelong friends? I ask myself this question often. When I compare myself to people with more geographic stability, I feel a deep longing for roots. Yet when I go inside for the source of my confidence, I know the frequent moves made me who I am today.

I am a woman who has made the most of life. I raised four children and have had several rewarding careers. I’ve lived in 11 states, owned six houses and made friends around the world without leaving the United States. I’m physically active. I learned to ski at age 48 and now can tackle most mountains. I’ve prac-ticed yoga and meditated for ten years. I celebrate my 55th birthday this week and feel fantastic. 

My life hasn’t always been a bed of roses. At 37, I was a divorced mother of four including three-year-old twin boys. My older children were aged 12 and 9.

The divorce was devastating for them. That was tough, but I was grateful for the release from my burden.

My kids’ father and I had married in college. As devout Catholics, we saw marriage as our next right step. I quickly found out he had anger issues. He broke my tennis racket in one fight during our first six months of marriage. I knew I had made a mistake. But I stayed in the marriage for 16 years because I believed God wanted us to stay married forever. I don’t believe that anymore. I believe God wants us to love one another and love ourselves. Staying with a man who was verbally abusive was not loving myself. I finally got the courage to leave when he locked himself in the bedroom all day on Christmas because he was upset about something my dad said to him. A friend said I had a long rope and it finally broke.

My ability to take care of myself financially had a significant impact on my ability to leave my husband. For the first 12 years of my career, I was a television news producer. Not only is this career super-stressful, but it is also relatively low-paying. After the twins were born, I quit my producing job at WDAF-TV in Kansas City to care for my kids full-time. The twins were almost three when a friend called to ask if I wanted to work in public relations for the Kansas City School District. I jumped at the opportunity. The position paid well so I could afford day care. And I felt passionate about the mission of helping inner- city children learn.

One phone call from a friend had ignited my new career in public relations. Breaks like this are a notable part of my journey. By following friends’ invitations and my intuition I have moved almost effortlessly from one position to the next.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” the Roman philosopher Seneca said. I prepared for my TV news career by attending the Missouri School of Journalism. When I began working in PR, I attended state and national conferences. I eventually became president of the Missouri School Public Relations Association. I studied for a year for the exam to become accredited in public relations. Having that credential boosted my confidence and increased my stature in the field.

The third phase of my career began in 2005, when I landed a development position at the University of Missouri, Columbia, my alma mater. The university was in a billion-dollar campaign. I had the honor of recognizing million-dollar donors with parties, media placements and publications. My manager, Linda L’Hote, taught me everything she knew. A dozen years later, I continue to be challenged and motivated in the development field. Today, I own Beth Hammock Philanthropy, a Kansas City-based consultancy helping nonprofits raise additional funds for their missions. I’m paying it forward—teach-ing leaders what I know about development, marketing and communications.

Now that my kids are grown, I look back and wonder how in the world I juggled demanding jobs and raising good kids. I give credit to the Innergized Life. Through yoga, prayer and meditation, I stay connected to God. I have access to the power of God anytime, anywhere. God is so many qualities, including love, wisdom, joy and prosperity. Knowing I am a living display of these qualities helps me show up in a positive way wherever I am called.

I have always felt close to God. My parents took us to mass every Sunday. By the time I was in high school, I was a lector, teaching Sunday school and leading retreats. When I got divorced, my husband and I had been presenting Marriage Encounter weekends for three years. I valued marriage, but not enough to stay in a bad one. Continuing in the Catholic Church was difficult for me because I felt guilty every time I went. I was supposed to have stayed married, I thought.

My counselor suggested I try Unity. My first experience with Unity was at Unity Temple on the Plaza, the Unity movement’s flagship church. I cried then and at many Sunday services thereafter. I was crying for both joy and in grief, letting go of my relationship with Catholicism.

Unity recommends meditating daily. Adopting this practice changed my life. I can settle my anxious mind and find a place of peace through meditation. I often hear God speaking to me when my mind is clear. Love wells up inside me and I am prepared for whatever comes my way.

At the suggestion of my brother, Dr. David Kearney, I added yoga to my self-care practices. David’s research is about the impact of meditation and mindfulness training on patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. He recommended I take a Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction class, so I did. This class gave me a foundation for using yoga and meditation for creating more peace in my life. It works.

I’m a firm believer in re-creation—getting out of the office to give myself time to think. I have a lot of my best ideas while walking my dog. A daily connection with nature is a must for me.

When I travel, either for work or to visit my children, I seek out the most beautiful place around and spend some time there. For example, when I flew to Spokane, WA to watch my son play college football, I gave myself four days for the trip—two for travel, one for watching the game and one for me. Immediately after arriving, I went to Anthony’s, a seafood restaurant perched above Spokane Falls. I indulged in three of my favorite foods: salmon, peaches and raspberries on a salad. Then I sat there and worked for a couple of hours. I chatted with the staff and felt right at home.

After my visit to Anthony’s, I wandered along the river and came upon a food truck festival. Since I had just eaten, I relaxed by getting a chair massage. Then, it was off to Sandpoint, Idaho, about an hour northeast of Spokane. I had been to Sandpoint once before and fell in love with its sandy beach and mountain views. My Airbnb host was surprised I had just one day for the visit. Being content with a one-day retreat is an essential component of my Innergized Life. The highlight of my visit was practicing yoga on the water’s edge on a perfect day. Blissful moments like this re-charge me.

I have written this chapter one day after moving from St. Louis to Kansas City. I am surrounded by boxes and one may think my life is in disarray. I know it is in perfect order. Three months ago, I hung photos of peonies on the walls of my new apartment in St. Louis. Six weeks later, I received an offer to work with Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden. I decided to move back to help raise more money for Powell Gardens. I visualized being surrounded by flowers and now I am.

This story first appeared in Living the Innergized Life, Transforming Ordinary Moments into Extra-Ordinary Memories, a book of inspiring stories by women compiled by Cathy L. Davis (2017). To purchase a copy for $12.95 plus shipping, contact Beth Hammock at Beth@HammockCommunications.com.

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Access Your Life! Spirituality

Summer Nature Walk/Walking Retreat

HAVE YOU SCHEDULED YOURS YET?

As Summer rolls out, many of us are ready to enjoy the fruits of Spring’s labors. Despite the heat, we’re looking for opportunities to venture outside where we can stop to smell some roses and watch butterflies and dragonflies and, if we’re lucky, some fireflies fluttering with the wind.

Nature’s changes – whether they’re associated with a season, equinox, solstice, or moon phase – inform us both consciously and unconsciously. When we take the time to anticipate or pay attention to them, Nature’s changes can support the changes in our own lives: whether those are changes we’re contemplating or changes we’re in the midst of experiencing. Unfortunately, though, our personal changes too often capture our attention, stop us in our tracks, and hold us hostage; and we’re unable to find the support they offer us.

This is when we need someone to walk and talk with us, but not just any someone. We need someone who can draw us outside of ourselves – someone who can help us recognize, see, and use the support that’s waiting inside. This is when we need someone who can help us become aware of the winds of our changes, recognize our budding possibilities, and fasten our gaze on our future opportunities, the blooms, that are waiting to appear.

This is when we need a Nature Walk/Walking Retreat.

Nature Walk/Walking Retreat is different than merely taking a walk with someone. Soul Speak Nature Walk/Walking Retreats take place in local parks and are personalized for each Retreatant’s needs. Some Retreatants come with a theme in mind or an interest they want to explore. Others come to consider concerns they’re having or a decision they have to make. Still others come because they need someone to talk to or a safe place to vent.

A Soul Speak Retreat begins a couple of days before your scheduled Walk, when you answer a few questions about the perceived purpose of your Retreat and whether or not you have any requests, needs, or physical limitations. With your responses in mind, your Retreat Facilitator designs a short series of activities that you will do together during your Walk, activities that have been intentionally chosen and personalized just for you.

The in-person segment of our Nature Walk/Walking Retreats last approximately three hours (no, we don’t walk for three hours!) We spend the first thirty minutes or so greeting one another, reviewing the path of your Nature Walk, and becoming acclimated to our surroundings. When we finish Walking, when we have about an hour left, we’ll spend time reflecting while we enjoy light refreshments.

Your Retreat doesn’t end there, though. Two days after our Walk, we’ll provide you with a brief Follow-up Session to talk about any additional support or direction you may need.


Nature Walk/Walking Retreats can be created around any theme and have proven helpful for individuals, couples, and small groups of up to five people. To get more information or to ask questions – or to schedule your Summer Retreat! – you can reach Philana at PhilanaCrite@Yahoo.com or 937.346.7384.

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Create Opportunities! Own Your Life!

Too much muchness?

“‎You’re not the same as you were before,” he said. You were much more… muchier… you’ve lost your muchness.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass


I used to proudly say things like, “I’m a chameleon, I can fit in anywhere.” I said those things because I was afraid of not fitting in. I felt like if I was completely authentic, someone would punish me for being too much. So I held back. I tried to be whoever others wanted me to be instead of myself. I didn’t have a clear idea of who I was. I wanted to be liked, and I thought I had to be someone else to make that happen.

I spent the past couple of years becoming. I did this through a whole lot of inner searching, healing, and listening. I saw behaviors that were defenses against being hurt but kept me from having deep relationships. I listened to the things I was saying to myself and was often horrified at how mean I was. I paid attention to how afraid I was of standing out, even though I love crazy-colored edgy hairstyles and wearing artsy clothes. I wanted to be seen, and I was terrified of being seen at the same time.

It started to sink in that I am approaching those years where a lot of women become invisible and ignored. That started to scare me more than my fear of being too much. I began to realize that I had wasted a lot of years when it’s more socially acceptable to stand out. If I wasn’t careful, I was going to slide into the last half of my life carrying a whole lot of baggage about what a woman of a certain age is supposed to look like and act like, and be. I understood that if I was ever going to figure out how to be myself, I had better get started.

I sought out every book, course, and challenge I could get my hands on that promised to teach me how to be better. When my business coach pointed out in early 2020 that I was constantly looking for ways to fix myself, I felt like I had another thing to fix, which sent me seeking even more. I thought I might always be seeking at that point.

I discovered I did not lack time, but was filling all of my time with tangential reading and learning.
~ Janelle Hardy   https://www.janellehardy.com/about/

I see now that I was avoiding the real issue. I wanted to feel comfortable in my skin. I wanted to stop being who I thought would make other people happy, and be happy for myself. I began to realize I wasn’t going to find myself in someone else’s story. I had to write my own story, and be willing to be too much. There was going to be no avoiding it.

I am now me, with all the muchness I was afraid to show until now. How it happened isn’t glamorous. It was a concerted effort to make friends with myself. To listen to me. To comfort the hurts and to stop abusing myself with my inner dialogue. Stay tuned to this blog, where I will attempt to share with you what got me from a serious lack of muchness to being completely in love with my muchness. I’m not too much, and neither are you. The world is waiting for your unique brand of muchness. Let’s walk together and see what it’s like to stop hiding that muchier you.