Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On Being Remarkable

This will be my last blog post here. I am cooking up a bigger vision for my yearning to write and connect, and my mission of helping mamas find their mo-jo. I will close up shop here soon, and want to thank those of you who allowed me to entertain you from time to time. I have learned quite a bit about myself through this blog. More than anything, its helped me tap into what I need more of in my life, and what I really want to create. More on that to come.
For now, I wanted to close this blog with some thoughts on being remarkable. Yesterday, my husband and I tuned into the Boston Marathon and watched, excitedly, as the top three women raced neck-and-neck to the finish line. "Wow," I commented to Joe as they crossed the finish line, "that's remarkable. You know - that is what I want more than anything in my life. To be remarkable." "How so?" my hubby asked. "Hmmm. I don't know, but remarkable." I said, undecidedly and decidedly.
And so today, when I suddenly fell dizzy in the middle of a shopping center with my little girl in a cart, my thoughts raced to how life can change on the turn of a dime. I thought about my husband and my daughter. I offered a silent prayer that I would live long; Long enough to love them really, really well. The kind of love that gently and steadily asks them to grow bigger, be bigger, and yet reassures them of how completely, wonderfully lovable they are, right now, and how blessed I am to love them.
And then I knew what I meant by being remarkable. I want to be remarkable in my ability to love. To really love.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Coaching + Coffee + Connection

If you live near Cambridge, MA, won't you join me for....

Career Coaching Coffee-Hour
A six-week career transition group, facilitated and led by me, a certified professional coach (CPCC, ACC)

· Are you out of work or in-between jobs?
· Considering a career change or starting a new venture?
· Needing support, structure and focus?

Take advantage of an economy-friendly, low-cost, dynamic coaching program!

Highlights Include:

· Weekly coaching exercises
· Clearing blocks and obstacles
· Creating a compelling vision
· Establishing structure and focus
· Moving forward with confidence
· Connection, networking and support
· One individual, private coaching session

Program Details:

6 Wednesdays 4/8, 4/15, 4/22, 4/29, 5/6, 5/13
from 9:00 – 10:00 AM
At a local café in Central Square, Cambridge
***ONLY $85.00!!!***

Contact me for more information: erin@innergrowthcoach.com.
Aw, come on! Join us!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pack Your Bags, Baby!

One of the benefits of coaching is the continued growth process that happens naturally when you are asking others to creatively design their lives. A friend of mine (a wonderful yoga therapist, Rebekah Barry) and I are running an 8-week Integrative Yoga and Life Coaching Program, Mama, Rejuvenated! As part of their visioning exercise, the mamas created collages that answered the question: "what is the BIG dream for my life?"
I had recently created my own version, and decided to use my collage to demonstrate how we uncover our values, or our "must-haves". It struck me, powerfully, how much I am missing the intimacy of friendships that I share with a few women from college. The kind of friendship that was forged through sweat and tears on the lacrosse field and off.
I shared with my husband how seemingly difficult it is to forge those kinds of friendships now, when I am preoccupied with being a mama, or our time alone together is so limited. An hour here, an hour there.
I continued on about how much I missed my dear friend, Kate, who happens to also be Amelia's awesome God-Mama, and who also happens to live in Malaysia. "Pick up the phone and call her, Er." my ever-practical husband urged. "Connect that way."
And so we did. And now, I have two e-tickets to Malaysia with a stop in Dubai. One for me. The other for Amelia.
Kate challenged me. She framed a visit to Malaysia in the most compelling way. If not now, when? People do it all the time. They have no choice if they want to come home and see their families. It's a perspective shift. She will be flying home with Kai, her 11 month old, in June. We could all fly together. "It will be hard and exhausting," she said, "but imagine how you will feel once you do it. You will feel like you can do anything after that!!!"
You see, Kate knows me well. Throw a good challenge my way, and I am like a dog after a bone.
And the bone is 3 amazing weeks barefoot (or at least flip flops) in Malaysia with monkeys swinging in the trees around us, and Kate and I (with babes on backs) palling around together, again. And the bigger bone is really this: Being true to me, and fulfilling my values of adventure, rich experiences, intimate friendships, and a little spontaneity. I am challenging the belief I formerly held that this is not possible with a toddler.
I am now in "strategy" mode of how to travel wisely with an 18-month-old. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Power of Focus

What we focus on grows in energy.

This past week, I had a heart-to-heart with my husband. Actually, it was a conversation that we had over a valentines day dinner. (I guess that is fitting.) I am committed to shifting more time and attention to my coaching practice, and need my husband's support. I simply can not keep up with the housework and child care if I am to also tend to growing my practice. As I told him, something has to give, and it is through coaching that I feel most inspired and energized. He is the most important part of the equation to helping me make that shift.
The next morning, I went out to the store and returned home to my husband cleaning the floors with the windows open, music on, and a pleased look on his face. The house was imaculate. He had even set up my mugs and tea for a coaching workshop later at our house. I said something to the chime of: "Wow! Not only am I so appreciative, but you have never been so attractive! That is so sweet!" You should have seen how pleased he was now.
The next day, he stepped it up again. He kept encouraging me to sit down and focus on my coaching business. He will do the dishes, make dinner, clean up, put Amelia down. Again, I told him how much I appreciated this - how much his help would propel me forward.
This has kept up for three more days. He adjusted his schedule to leave for work 20 minutes later this week so that he can feed Amelia breakfast, make me coffee and let me sleep in a bit more. When he has returned home from work, he actually picks up whatever is on the floor, does a couple of house chores and washes any dishes in the sink before hopping on the couch!
Last night, we talked about the impact that this has made on me, on us. I told him that I can truly see how what goes around comes around. His generosity around the house makes me feel much more forgiving of other little annoyances that I otherwise may have focused on until they loomed larger. And he shared that it feels really good to help out and, unlike before, it feels like "no big deal."
The more I tell him how awesome he is, the more that he seems motivated to keep going. Now, I know that this is likely not going to last forever, or rather that there will be ebbs and flows in his initiative around the house. And, I know that I can largely influence this by focusing on his desire to help out. I can see how it motivates him to do more.
It is no surprise that this has been a very abundant week for me with my coaching practice. I am not only on a roll, but the universe seems to be aligning to bring new and previous clients in my direction!
Dr. John Gottman is a 'relationship expert' who claims that relationships that last have a 5:1 positive to negative interaction ratio. In other words, to make a marriage truly work and last, positive, reinforcing behaviors must outnumber negative ones five to one. Here's the thing: it only takes one partner in a relationship to change the dynamic. As emotions are contagious, so are behaviors of love, generosity and an overall sense of good will.
Gratefully, my husband is the one who made this shift for us.
Can you relate to this? I challenge you to give this a try! Take one day and authentically praise or love your partner; Let him (or her) know how much you love and appreciate him. If this is not a usual behavior of yours, s/he may be skeptical or uncomfortable. That's ok. Do it anyways and see what happens. Enjoy.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Keeping it Real...

Where is this blog going? I've been wondering about that lately.

Has this happened to you before? Maybe not in the blogging world, but when you have a sense of where you are heading and then end up unsure of where you are, or where exactly you are headed.

Come to think of it, this happened to me last night. I bundled Amelia safely in the car and set out to run a few errands, the last of which being a stop at a delicious little pizza joint. My husband was travelling, and my vision for the evening included watching The Secret Life of Bees while enjoying gourmet pizza and a delicious glass of wine on my new sea-blue, velvet sofa. (Oooh, I love it so.)

I was "sort of" clear as to the location of this little Italian gem; Which means that I drove around for 25 minutes, and then arrived back home with my movie, but, alas, no pizza.

I had an idea of where it was, but decided to wing it. Sometimes it works, and I end up in these interesting, intriguing places. And sometimes I never quite arrive.

And thus I am entering a phase of visioning, or re-visioning. I will continue to post as I go, though you can expect some changes in the near future.

I need to consult my internal GPS.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


In what ways do you "edit" your life? Yourself?

I want you to really consider that question for a few moments. (I will continue to munch on my gloriously juicy clementine as you do. No rush.)

Do you want to say something and hold back?
Do you take back what you do say?
Do you write in your journal, but think before you write? Or cross out? Or re-write?
Do you bite your tongue when your mother or mother-in-law questions your parenting?

I ask this because I have developed a tendency myself to edit my blog posts after I've posted them. A little tweak here and there. Did I mention that I am a recovering perfectionist?

It is an interesting question. Where else am I editing myself? Making little tweaks here and there?

That is my inquiry for this week. And you?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Personal Challenge: Part I

Let me take you back a few months. It was September, and I was feeling... antsy. There are more adjectives that I could use, but somehow antsy seems to sum it up. I was 9 months into being a mom; 9 months into caring for this new little person; 9 months into the significant challenge of balancing Amelia's needs with my own. And I was feeling, well, nostalgic for my old self, or rather the romanticized version of my old self. She who travels to exotic places, breezes by the local book store to catch a reading after yoga, and, imagine, even styles her hair.

Rather than lament my sorrows, I decided instead to create a rather fun challenge for myself. To mix it up, to step out of my current comfort zone, to allow myself to indulge in these experiences I was missing. And, ultimately, to see where that takes me.

My timeframe was 4 months; Until the end of 2008. I do love a good challenge.

In no particular order, here is the beginning of how I fared (keeping myself accountable):

1. Climb a mountain/hill. On Thanksgiving morning, my sister, sister-in-law and I set out to hike to the top of Skinner Mountain in Western Mass. We were all tempted to skip out and eat mushroom and goat cheese strudel instead, but we persisted. And we bonded.

2. Run a race. In the nick of time, my (other) sister and I ran in the "jingle bell run" this past Sunday morning. Decked out in green and red with an elf hat, and she with a christmas tree atop her head, we joined thousands of other spirited runners for a low-key, relaxed, festive run. We are signing up for next year, too!

3. Row the Charles. Boy, I thought I missed the window on this one. I had arranged with my neighbor, an avid rower, to take Joe and I out on a Sat. morning in September (as a surprise for Joe). Alas, we woke up to a downpour of rain. Instead, I enticed my sister's girlfriend, Tracy, to join me on a very cold October morning. We rented a canoe, squeezed into a full-body wet suit, and sat peacefully in the middle of the river, watching a goose be evicted from his clan (or so it seemed). We made up an entertaining story to explain the poor goose's fate, and talked about life and love.

4. Coctails at a swanky NYC restaurant. In October, I left my dear Amelia and Joe, and took the train to visit a friend who lives in Manhattan. We ate out at a modern, eclectic restaurant and talked about college and life now over a bottle of wine.

5. Visit 3 museums. Check. Harriet Beecher Stowe (where I received a personal tour from Joe's aunt, Dawn), Anne Frank House, Dutch Resistance Museum, Van Gogh Museum & Rijksmuseum. My favorite? The Dutch Resistance Museum in Amsterdam. Seriously cool.

6. Travel to Germany. I went to Amsterdam instead. We intended to do both, but I decided 5 days away from Amelia was my limit. It was both wonderful and heart-wrenching, at times. And we're planning a trip to Norway (Joe's business again) in May... with Amelia.

7. Bake an apple pie. Check.

8. Custom jean fitting in Philly. I happily received a jean fitting here in Boston as a Christmas gift. It is planned for February and this feels like quite a treat!

9. Do something to support my presidential candidate. The way that I chose to do this was to be more expressive about my opinions and beliefs; To personally campaign without being attached to changing anyone else's vote. Stretching lessons. Amelia did hold an "Obama for My Mama" sign on election day, too.

10. Make something unexpected for someone special. I had fun with this one; My favorite gift, though, was a book that I made for Joe's 99 year old Papa. As I type, he may very well be writing his responses to my many questions about his life and himself. He called me to tell me that I ought to be an investigator or teacher, since I ask so many questions. How about a coach?

11. 20 hours of hot yoga. YES! I am reinvested in my yoga practice, and it feels soooo good!

More to come later. For now, though, I will sum up by sharing that I likely would not have done any of these things, had I not committed to them on here. The physical adventures were the most fulfilling to me. More adventure! More adventure! The jean fitting and swanky restaurant? Perhaps that seems self-indulgent or materialistic. These challenge my "but I can't afford it..." and "I don't get to..."; I do have choice. If a new pair of jeans that fit my *new* (post-birth) body like a hug will make me feel delicious, then, by golly, a new pair of jeans it is!