Tis the season!

Wrapping up one year and looking forward to the next. What an interesting process. I remember many years where I couldn’t wait for the fresh start that a new year would bring. Funny how optimistic I always am at this time of year considering I live in Wisconsin and the new year just means 4 more months of cold weather. 

This year however I am just truly thankful and blessed to have experienced all the days in this year so far. I’ve experienced so much growth in so many areas. 

This year marked 5 years of togetherness with my husband and 2 years of marriage. It has seriously flown by.  I’m so thankful for us and hope we continue to share many more trips around the sun together. 

I attended a life and business coaching group for 9 months out of the year that totally changed my perspective on many areas of my life. It’s helped me declutter, repriorotize, rediscover and challenge my thoughts and beliefs. 

I enjoyed my 2nd full year of consulting on my own. It’s been such a rewarding experience and opportunity to work on different projects with different people. Definitely a different kind of education. I’ve really started to appreciate and acknowledge what I can add to a team and project. Being my own cheerleader has been such a blessing. 

My step-son turned 14 and watching him grow and discover himself is something I’m thankful to be a part of every day. He’s such a blessing and gives me perspective and many learning experiences. 

We spent the year focusing on our finances and now find ourselves debt free (except for our home). This is such a freeing accomplishment and it takes so much pressure of our career choices and really allows us to enjoy our 9-5’s more since we don’t feel trapped by them. 

I was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease in August. An inner ear disorder that causes ear ringing, vertigo and nausea. By cutting out caffeine and sodium I’ve managed to control the symptoms (and my anxiety around the sparadic nature of the episodes). So, yay. 

I traveled to Napa (CA), Orlando (FL), Mexico, Lake Placid (NY), Door County (WI), Rockville (MD) and of course Cleveland and Cincinnati for work. I enjoyed every trip and was lucky enough to spend time with great people and make wonderful memories at each location. Not to mention some good food too. 

We took down a wall (thanks HGTV for the words “open concept”, repainted most of the main level, filled a dumpster of crap to declutter the house, and put in new vinyl wood planks instead of the old carpet. 

I started and cancelled a wine club. I started and cancelled a fitness subscription. I gave up giving up Nutella. 

And so many other wonderful things… with wonderful people. 

With only two weeks left in this year, I have nothing but gratitude and love for 2016 and can only imagine what 2017 will bring… and I look forward to finding out. 

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International Inspiration, growth, and sunburn. 

My first clue that I was heading back to real life was actually having to pay for my morning banana and water. After spending 5 days at an all inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico where the water was handed out like candy at Halloween (as long as it was bottled, didn’t want to pull a Charlotte) and the food was abundant, it seemed natural to have a residual desire to just pick something up and walk away with it (a case of the sticky fingers). I left the resort feeling like royalty and I guess it takes a while to shake that off. Clearly the people at the Cancun airport aren’t aware of my recent royal status. I’m returning home with a couple additional tangible things. 

  • A healthy sunburn, despite my best Midwest attempts at multiple sunscreen applications. 
  • A pink and tan corona cowboy hat (this will make sense when I touch down in Wisconsin later where autumn is in full swing, but made total sense at the time of purchase poolside). 
  • A wooden carved turtle. Very delicate with intricate designs on the shell. I’m imaging that a local spent a good deal of time and poured love into making it. But for four American dollars, it could also be a oriental trading trinket as well. I will choose to believe the former. 

I also carry with me a few tokens and gifts from the other ladies of the retreat. Which, hands down are my most treasured additions. 

The other “stuff” I bring home is the intangible, the things only I can see and acknowledge… and thankfully don’t add weight to my luggage. The emotional, mental, spiritual, soul and waistline growth (again – all inclusive resort). The promise of hope and sensation of being about 17% more badass than when I landed here five days ago. 

There were a total of 18 in our little tribe at this retreat. Two fearless guides throughout the process and 16 other fearless women who eagerly and awesomely followed in every footstep… even if they couldn’t quite see where it would lead. 
The 16 of us grasshoppers came with open hearts, minds and sun sunscreen. We laughed, we cried, we sang, we danced, we crafted, we made promises to ourselves, we held hands, hugged, shared stories and sometimes shared silence. When all that was done, we shared dessert. 

If you are trying to visualize what this tribe of women might look like, go to Pinterest or Instagram and search for “tribe” or “friend goals”. Then, add more humans to that picture, vary the ages, races, economic means and body sizes. 

Once you have this group of women in your mind, strip them of their earlthy descriptions and just imagine 16 souls that decided to take the leap from stranger to soul sister. 16 souls that carved time out from their family, friends, hobbies and careers to invest in themselves and really dig into some deep shit. Imagine therapy without the couch, more magic, homework and then add chocolate. 

How did I even get into this beautiful cluster of growth?  One word: Cancun. I’d like to pretend my intentions were noble. That I signed up knowing that I had all this pent up possibility and purpose just waiting to be unleashed from my fingertips. But no. I saw pictures of super happy women, on the beach, having a wonderful time (and margaritas)… and I wanted in on that hot action. 

Imagine my surprise when I really started digging into the program and found out there would be work. Home work. Soul work. Tribe work. Booty work (jk… but there was dancing). I didn’t know I’d be holding the hands, secrets, fears and aspirations of these beautiful women throughout this process.. and then holding mine. Make no mistake, I definitely thought long and hard about it… then thought, “fuck it… what’s the worst that can happen?  I go to Cancun, meet some cool chicks, and maybe even become a better person???” I’ve signed up for worse things in the past. 

So… eight and a half months later with two retreats, many phone calls, and a few breakthrough and breakdowns in my rear view mirror, the question is… would I do it again?  Absofuckinglutely. I feel more spiritually flexible, I believe in a little more magic, and definitely have found a softness and kindness towards myself that I didn’t know before. This new kindness has allowed me to really feel that softness towards all the women in the world. Which has lead to more genuine interactions. More conversations rooted in integrity. A little less bull shit and a lot more fun. 

In summary – if you get the chance to do something that will make you feel wildly uncomfortable, question your core beliefs, and maybe go somewhere tropical with people who will be strangers when it all begins… 

DO IT. 

And send me an invite. 

Peace out.