Since the inception of Orchid Story, I’ve had a dream to partner with charity organizations to give back. I’m so excited that the first of these partnerships is happening now for Heart Week 2019! I am offering an opportunity to work with me through the Mended Little Hearts of Washington DC Silent Auction. One of the great services offered by Mended Little Hearts is the delivery of Bravery Bags to families staying in the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) at Children’s National in Washington, DC. I have been one of those families in the CICU and they remain some of the most unsettling nights of my life. To know that people care, people see you, people have hope for you is such a gift. Anyone can bid on the auction - I invite you to check it out!
The Orchid Story Community, in their own words.
I’m so excited to share with you that I am presenting at the Connector Conference on Saturday, October 13 in Rosslyn, Virginia!
My breakout session title is: “Your Story as the Bridge to Your Inner Self“. I would absolutely love to have you there with me. In addition to my session, there are lots of other opportunities for you to reconnect with your calling, community, creativity and confidence.
I’ve been a friend of Charmed Cardinals, the force behind this conference, for a while and really connect with their mission of having members reconnect with all the pieces of their lives to feel less fragmented. You will get so much value out of attending the conference.
I hope to see you on October 13!
I don't consider myself a mommy blogger. In fact, I tend to feel on the outside of most groups of Mom peers. At a writing workshop I attended we were each instructed to write a one line response to "What I know" and I wrote: I know how it feels to stand in a group of moms and feel utterly alone.
What I also know is that this is more about me than the other Moms. It's my attempt to shield myself from the judgement of the Moms. For a while the only coping mechanism I could muster was to hold up the shield and crouch down behind it. I've spent a lot of energy trying to understand that other people's opinions of my parenting choices or my children are their business and have nothing to do with me. I've also spent a lot of energy trying to be the mom my child needs me to be in all settings, not just when it's most comfortable for me. These continue to be works in progress.
All that said, when you find a beautiful soul who understands your motherhood journey, it is such joy. Sharing openly about the challenges and the hard times is crucial for who we are at our core. One of the greatest gifts of Orchid Story is that the women who feel compelled to join this community are kindred spirits who also believe in this. You all are the moms I want to stand beside and I want to open up to.
It is with this energy that I joined forces with the amazing Kristy Rodriguez of Pure Nurture to offer a FREE community event for moms. Our salon, Your Motherhood Narrative, is happening the evening of Friday September 7th. Go here for more info. I know firsthand how important it is to have spaces and people to share our motherhood experience. This is one of those. I hope you'll join us.
In the spirit of serving, creating community and engaging with like-minded people, I will also be participating in an Open House at the Insight Shop on Saturday September 8th. Have you ever thought to yourself that you think you would like to attend one of my workshops or classes but you aren't sure? This is just for you. Come get a sense of who I am and how I teach. It's FREE and no registration is required.
Ok, if you made it this far clearly you are interested. I have one ask of you, depending on your location:
- If you live in the DMV: Come to one of my free events this week. Registration is required for the Your Motherhood Narrative salon and there are only a couple of spaces left. The Open House does not require registration. Both are FREE. Give yourself the gift of investing time in yourself and I have a feeling you won't be disappointed. This is the perfect way to sample what I'm offering.
- If you live outside the greater DC area: I believe so strongly in creating space for these conversations that I will host an online, video format of the Your Motherhood Narrative for FREE if I have at least eight people email me and tell me they want to attend. Share this with a friend if you really want it to happen!
I have lots in store this fall and I am SO excited to kick it off with these events. (My in person class is coming soon... go here if you want to make sure one of the spaces in class is yours.)
I'm getting ready for my Hero's Journey workshop this Saturday in Vienna, VA (we still have a few spots left! come join me!) and in doing so I've been thinking about both the literal and figurative journeys I've been on this summer. I had a deep realization in recent weeks what a privilege it is to be able to travel. Take a second to be filled with gratitude for the the places you saw, the foods you ate, the conversations you had.
I'm sure it's the same with you. Lots happens over the summer - we travel to new places, we spend more time with people we love, we read lots of books (I read a ton of books this summer - maybe I'll do a roundup for you soon). Then, we get to the end of August and school is starting for the kids, we are rushing around trying to get everything ready and before we know it we're celebrating Rosh Hashanah and attending weekend soccer games. The summer feels like it was years instead of weeks ago. You don't need kids to understand and live this phenomenon. We are wired to be thinking ahead and planning for what's next, constantly.
Taking a moment for reflection fills your soul. It reminds us where we've been and what we learned. Or why that trip was so important for you to plan and take in the first place. One fun and simple way to access this journey of yours is to open up your photos on your phone. Pick one you love and give yourself 15 minutes to write a reflection on the photo.
Like the idea but know you won't actually carve out the time to do it? Check out my new calendar of events to see how I can support you in telling your story.
Sometimes the road we are traveling down becomes bumpy. The path narrows, the sunshine gets pushed out by the brush surrounding us. We trip over rocks that pop up out of nowhere. We can find our way through, but it feels like real effort. Every step takes thought and consideration and your mind feels full to the brim and overflowing. Am I going the right way? Did I remember to pack water? Did I pay the electric bill and find a sitter for the kids' day off and call the doctor's office again because they never called me back?
Sometimes this is a stage of life we are passing through. It's a tough climb but we know that after we get through this tricky portion of the path we will see the sun poking through the trees in the distance.
Other times, though, we find the brush getting thicker. The rocks are becoming boulders that we need to scramble over to get by. A mile takes hours. The trail markers have disappeared and we are out in the wilderness alone. We are hungry. Hungry for sustenance and light and ease.
We think to ourselves: One more night alone in this tent on the edge of the cliff and surely, the path will clear tomorrow.
But it doesn't.
This is the Dark Night of the Soul from Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey. I love teaching the Hero's Journey because it feels so relatable. If you reflect on your own life, have there been times of the Dark Night of the Soul?
The thing about the Dark Night of the Soul is that what comes after it can be life-changing. Curious about that part of the journey? Sign up for my Hero's Journey workshop where we will be talking all about it.
The first topic in my summer series is Separation and Divorce. I'm looking at each of these topics through the lens of how the story you tell yourself about the experience can affect your well-being. I've found some interesting research to share about when it is helpful to write your story of separation and when it may not be the right time. I'm sharing resources and advice from experts. If this topic speaks to you, I invite you to sign up for my newsletter to learn more.
While I have always kept a journal, I decided in 2014 that I wanted to develop my writing style and eventually share my work. I also decided that in order to do so I needed to create a writing ritual that encouraged me to write. Every Friday morning I would go to a local coffee shop and set up my laptop. I had one hour. It took me weeks to write a single essay.
It was worth every minute. My heart would get heavy as the end of my hour was nearing. I would squeeze in a couple of last sentences and then drag my feet out to the parking lot to get home to help Curt with the kids. Writing filled a need in me. I felt deeply connected to this practice.
It wasn't until early 2016 that I launched Orchid Story as a blog and that was months before Orchid Story became a business. See what I'm trying to spell out for you here? It's ok to take things slow. It's ok if you start writing and don't share your work for years, if ever. It's ok if you can only squeeze in 15 minutes twice a week.
What is most critical in my experience is that you create a ritual for yourself around writing. Rituals help us connect our outer lives to our inner lives. Rituals allow us to be intentional with our time and to create experiences that make us feel good and connected to who we are at our core. Rituals allow me to take ownership of my time, when it might otherwise pass by in a blur.
If you have been wanting to write, but just can't figure out how to fit it into your days, my writing ritual worksheet is for you. If you have been wanting to write, but couldn't figure out how to start, my worksheet will help. It's a one pager, mostly questions with checkboxes to inspire you to start your writing practice. Why not decide that this is the summer that you will finally put pen to paper and get started?
The number one question I'm asked is: how do I find time to write? Well, I'm so glad you asked because I created a worksheet for that! Sign up for my newsletter and you'll get it tomorrow in your inbox. My Create Your Own Writing Ritual Worksheet is a one pager designed to get you inspired to start your writing practice today.
Friends! This month, I'm going to focus on moms in honor of Mother's Day. All moms are created equal, whether you are a mom or not, have a living mom or not, have an adopted mom or not, have a relationship with your mom or not, and any other variation you can think of!
All of the writing I do will be in the mom theme - shared on social media, my website or wherever. I want to hear from you too. I am going to take the responses to the questions I pose and create something beautiful. It may be a video or an image or writing piece - so inspire me and be on the lookout for what I create with your words.
I am making a Mother's Day video for one of my amazing Orchid Story community members. To be in the running you need to be signed up for my newsletter (look right on this page to sign up). This is a gift from me to show my gratitude for showing up, reading, and sharing my work. The 1-2 minute video will include your audio story (recorded with me via Skype) with background music and your personal photos. This will be a super creative and unique way to say Happy Mother's Day to someone in your life.
Want to to be considered? Sign up for my newsletter then email me to let me know:
In the story of your life, what's the title of the chapter on Mom?
I'll pick the winner and email that person on Friday May 4th. Remember, this doesn't have to be about your mom - I'm looking for any mom that has positively influenced your life. The final product will be shared with my community. Yay! Very excited to do a free giveaway for you in honor of moms everywhere.
Have you experienced a setback that changed the path of your life? Rewriting these stories to reflect the empowerment of our struggle can positively affect our wellness. Join me for a six week online class to explore the science that supports this and finally get your story onto the page. Reach out with questions!
I am so excited to bring an online version of my class to you! I can reach more people in an easy-to-access way and maintain a community aspect with a limited class size and a couple of live sessions. Applications open on Wed April 18th. The class is six weeks and mostly self-paced. If you sign up to get on the waitlist you will receive a special discount code.
This class is for you if you've experienced a challenge in your life that divided it into the before and after. A part of you is the same, but a part of you is different. The story of your struggle is stuck in your head and you don't know how to integrate it into your life.
I've been there. I've done it all - therapy, support groups, self-help books. They each have a place. As does rewriting your story. See, the stories we tell ourself become part of our personality. This is called our narrative identity. Our narrative identity affects our emotional and physical health on a daily basis.
If we make small changes to the way we see our stories, we can make drastic improvements to the way we feel.
There is research to back this up. I've been working with this idea of narrative identity for a couple of years and I have seen evidence in my own life that it works. The best part is that you don't need any special tools or even a huge time commitment. Short bursts of dedicated writing time can lead to big improvements.
This process helps build resilience. You'll feel more energized in your day-to-day and you'll bounce back more quickly the next time something unexpected happens. Some studies even show that writing about your story lowers your blood pressure.
Join me. My superpower is taking complicated scientific concepts and breaking them down so that you can benefit. This is my passion. I hope to see you in class!
“Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” This quote by Joseph Campbell, whose work brought us The Hero’s Journey metaphor, tells us that our darkest moments often happen directly before transformation occurs. In this workshop you will:
-Explore the Call to Adventure that we each face: What are you here to do with this one life you’ve been given?
-Learn how to apply the three acts of the Hero’s Journey metaphor to your own experience.
-Write in a Hero’s Journey workbook and take it home with you.
Come with an idea of your “Call,” and leave with a tool that will enable you to intentionally examine life’s challenges
What's the shape of your heroine's journey?
Before you examine this question for yourself, have an understanding of your particular journey in mind. Ask yourself what you feel you've been called to do in this life. If that doesn't sit quite right or feels too broad, try looking at your journey as your path to finding your truest self. A journey of self-development. I love how author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about her own journey in this way.
In the work I've done investigating the Heroine's Journey, I've come across three shapes of the path: circle, spiral, labyrinth.
Circle: This is the traditional representation and the one I tend to relate to the most. The reason is that there is a closure, a sort of ending as the circle comes back around to the top. To me it suggests that there is an end in sight to the journey. We will come to a completion.
Of course, the flip side is that the circle might represent a never-ending journey of coming around and starting back up again. So that just as you have reached a sort of ending, you are thrown back into all of the hard stuff that comes with being a beginner.
Spiral: Another representation is the spiral. Think spiral staircase. We make progress and our view changes as we grow, with each step we take. We continue up the staircase as we age and mature; we can look down and see the many stairs we have climbed to get to the place where we are currently. I think this is a beautiful and peaceful representation, but one that maybe feels a little daunting (I'm gonna be climbing these stairs forever?). If the spiral feels like you, check out this article. I love the idea of our highest self reaching out to us from above to lend guidance.
Labyrinth: When I heard Elle Luna and Susie Herrick interviewed on the podcast Heroine about their new book "Your Story is Your Power" I almost fell off my chair. Wasn't that my book? (My tagline is Your Story is Your Strength.) I got over myself and bought it that day. Partway through I've already learned so much from these brilliant ladies. They are the ones who introduced me to the template of the labyrinth for your journey. Here's what they say about the labyrinth: "It is not a direct line from one point to another, but an organic, evolving process that takes time and moves to its own rhythm." Soothing, right?
It feels good to step out of the go, go, go for a moment to reflect on our path. If you found yourself nodding along while reading this, please join me for the workshop I'm leading on Sun April 8th in Vienna, VA (and share with a friend).