The word alone stirs up feelings of wonder and beautiful moments to come.
In less than 5 days, my family will be heading out on an adventure… Three weeks of exploring… Together. All four of us…. Two teen girls and their parents! And it’s going to be AWESOME!
We are taking a trip to Portugal…
Ah yes, blue skies… beautiful beaches… cobblestone roads… castles… the most delicious pastries…. AND most importantly, I get to visit with my darling, huge family!
We are heading on an adventure…To breathe in deeply of a new place.
To make memories and spend quality time with those I love.
I travel because it wakes me up.
It’s a little scary… and a lot of joy…
It opens me up to see new things and I engage in a whole new way.
It’s a completely IMMERSIVE experience. Only that moment matters.
The busyness of everyday life is gently silenced and is quickly replaced by my desire to absorb all the beauty surrounding me. I feel like my body is suddenly more aware, and I don’t want to miss a moment.
Travel takes me where I need to be emotionally.
It reminds me of sacred moments and intentional living.
It speaks of freedom and purpose.
It shows me beauty in diversity and deepens my cultural experiences.
So here is the thing I am learning about ADVENTURE. It doesn’t have to be about traveling to far-away places. It’s about living with intention. Adventure could be waiting right outside your door. It’s about opening yourself to new new ideas and experiences. It’s about taking a chance and living with no regrets. Its about saying no to fear, and yes to enthusiasm and new things.
So, dear friends…
I invite you to ask yourself: what’s next on your adventure list?
Go on, dream big, or small… Make that list.
and then… JUST GO!
Deepen your intentional living spirit.
March 15th, 2015
The sun was shining, the trees were swaying with a gentle breeze, and the birds were singing their hearts out. What a beautiful beginning to a fabulous day. Each one of us on the Arise & Be team were beyond excited to meet each of the women who signed up for our ‘live your journey’ retreat. Our hearts are so connected with what we get to offer, and we couldn’t wait to meet the beautiful souls who bravely stepped out of their comfort zone to spend the day with us. A day, not only relaxing, but a day filled with growth and vulnerability, intentionality and purpose.
We learnt all about honoring the whole self. We got to listen to Heather talk about intuition and Left and Right brained activities. We created masterpieces with oil pastels (use that right side of the brain, ladies!), discovered new terms like: space within and space between. We explored the words: Clarity, Kindness, Confidence, Growth, Receptivity, Vulnerability, Faith and Abundance…. and then used those words to create our ‘Life Map Cards’ for our journey. Deep conversations, sharing in our groups, beautiful questions being asked. Playing with putty as Heather read us a story. One of my favorite things was seeing all the blankets spread out under the trees as we all took time to rest after lunch. Oh, what a glorious day.
Thank you Michelle F, Shelley S, Rebecca, Shelley W, Cristal, Paige, Marjorie, Erika, Raley, Jennifer, Darlene, Amy, Jill, Jaime, Kacee, Michelle H, Lexi, Lisa W, Liana and Lisa H.
Each one of you inspired us. We are so FOR you and we can’t wait to see each of you soar.
Live deeply and with freedom, dear friends.
Dear Friends –
With this being the season of love and celebrating Valentine’s Day, I wanted to write about loving our men well. However…..huge disclaimer….
Please don’t mistake my desire to discuss this topic as any sort of declaration that I have the answers. Quite the opposite actually. I wanted to give attention to this because after 21 years of marriage and befriending my man for over 23 years…I have been asking this question over and over…”What does it mean to love my husband well?”
I think it was about 5 years into my marriage that it dawned on me how different our hearts were. My realization went something like this….. “ohhh…he’s not like my women roommates in college…
hmmm…I guess I expected him to respond like my girlfriends…
geez…I wonder why we’re so different…?!?!?
I guess I should find out how he feels loved…
I give up…he’s so different!
Oh…here’s a thought…I’ll just go ask him…”
(It was probably around this time that I also picked up the book, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.)
So, in the hopes of shedding some light on an area that can often be a mystery…
I share my 4 Truths learned over the years about loving my man:
#1 – Let your Man be a Man.
I’m not even entirely sure what this means except I had to often remind myself that I had not married someone like me. I had chosen to marry someone who had different qualities and unique ways of looking at the world. Did I really want to change him just to make myself feel better? I decided I’d rather spend my energy getting to know him and understand him. As I let go of expecting him to respond in the ways I would respond, our trust grew and an openness developed between us that deepened our love and our friendship.
#2 – Use your power for good.
At the young age of 23, I didn’t realize how much power I held as his wife. I don’t say this to diminish him or elevate myself in our relationship, but more as a confession in how sloppy I often was in my communication. As his wife, my words held more weight than any other. I began to learn how much my words could cut down, emasculate, and diminish. As this sobering realization sunk in, I renewed my vow ‘to love and cherish him until death do us part’. But how? I wanted my words and my communication to be uplifting, clear, direct, lovingly truthful, but above all else I wanted him to feel SAFE in our relationship. I’ll be honest, I had my work cut out for me.
Which leads me to my next truth…
#3 – Have the courage and the integrity to ask for truthful evaluations.
If I wanted my man to feel safe and loved in our relationship, I had to ask him how I was doing. But most importantly, I had to learn how to hear the hard truth. It’s not fun to hear how my actions hurt his heart or ripped it open…but it is necessary to feel the weight of it in order for bad habits to be broken and new ones established. Learning how I had hurt my husband was hard, but it continues to be the strongest motivation for me choosing better patterns. Allowing the reflection of myself in his eyes began to be a new habit for me. The good news…as I changed in areas that had repeatedly hurt him, I also got to see how he responded when he felt deeply loved and valued by me. Flowers, gifts, surprise trips…you get the picture.
#4 Remember why you love him and do all you can to grow this love.
In my lifetime, I have only said vows to one person. I intend to keep these vows…but I don’t think I really knew what I was getting into when I said them. As my husband and I have ‘grown up’ together, we wanted to stay married, not through sheer determination and grit (although sometimes that is required), but through a growing love that aged like fine wine over the years. Our shared commitment became a renewed effort to love and befriend each other as we aged. On our mirror in our bedroom, we have this quote by Robert Browning, “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be”.
Often our apologies end with….Sorry, Babe…I’ll be better when I’m older. And I know that even as I am asking the question, “How do I love my man well?” I know he is also asking, “How do I love my woman well?” Choosing to love well really is just that….a choice…but well worth the effort. What a sacred journey marriage has been for me…for us. To be in a relationship that honors this sacredness during the highs and the lows…in the beauty and in the mess…I believe we truly learn what it means to live wholeheartedly and show up for our best life. I’m all in.
The day dawned bright and clear… and our team was ‘over the moon’ excited about what the day would hold and the women we would get to meet. Months of planning, dreaming and being inspired lead up to this moment and our team was truly feeling the beauty this day would hold.
The location: The gorgeous Wilson Vineyards, located in Clarksburg, a rustic barn.
The weather: Blue skies, gentle breezes and 100 degree heat. (Thank goodness for fans!!)
The woman: Authentic woman that showed up ready to step into their best life.
The message: Find your Bliss.
The day began with our own personal barista Lexi, who prepared gourmet coffee and tea for each of us. Followed by gentle music played by the wonderful Julie and Kathy. Heather led us in an art experience that engaged the rights side of our brain. All we needed was Paper… Sharpies… Oil pastels… and our smudgy fingers. Fun Fun…
Then we explored the meaning of the word ‘Bliss’… Not the light and fluffy feelings around it BUT how it actually goes so much deeper. Bliss is about intentional living. About asking kind questions that move us into a life we want. Bliss is about listening to what is being whispered to us… Relating to what supports our unique journey… Nurturing who we are and who we are becoming… Bliss is living confidently… Honoring the truth we will hear in the journey… Bliss is about inviting love in to guide and transform you.
The day was filled with story-telling, creating bliss books, laughter, tears, growth, space within time, beautiful sharing, quiet moments and moving classical music and new friendships.
We asked each member of our team what their favorite part of the day was:
“I loved how the beauty of our environment complimented the beauty of our guests and the conversations we had. I enjoyed seeing their inner beauty so clearly reflected in the bliss books, their art, and their responses to our discussions.” – Heather
“My favorite part of the day was getting to engage with each of the amazing woman that attended. I am always drawn to the fact that we are all so diverse and unique… and yet, when we share some of the deepest part of our hearts, we come to realize we have the same longings and needs. The same desires to be heard and valued. I felt absolutely honored to be on this journey with each of them. Making new friends in such an authentic way was AWESOME!” – Sharon
“There was a moment toward the end of the retreat where I could see fresh air hit each woman’s heart as they breathed in the energy of the day. I get so excited for each of them as I think about what is ahead… I know their lives will transform so beautifully because they have been intentional about taking a day for themselves. It’s just the beginning, but it’s such an important step. It’s an awesome thing to be able to reflect back to each woman what a worthy investment she is!“ – Meredith
“I can’t stop thinking about the energy that was felt in the room throughout the day. I am in awe with what is created when you have a room full of women that are all there with the same purpose, the same intention, the same openness and desire to invite goodness into their lives. To try and describe it in words is difficult because it was a feeling that filled our souls, and lifted our spirits. I guess if I had to narrow it down to three words it would be peace, comfort and joy. I feel so honored to have connected with each and every woman that came and enjoyed the day with us! So excited for the next one! Hugs!“ – Michaela
Thanks to each of the amazing woman that joined us. Crystal, Luna, Jennifer, Michelle, Shelley, Kathy, Julie, Lexi, Margo, Erin, Melinda, Mary and Catriona, you each inspired us. Thank you for sharing this day with us, and for being willing to step into brave and engage better in the life you want.
The Arise & Be Team
and here are some thoughts from retreat attendants:
“The reminder that I need to take the time to be intentional in nurturing my heart was so important to me.”
“It was beautiful. My soul is more at peace now and has the space to breathe.” – Michelle
“Hearing words put to my deepest emotions via other women’s voices was most significant about this experience.” – Shelley
“You can’t drive a car with an empty tank and today filled my tank to overflowing. It made me realize the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual need to make the time to do this on a regular basis.” – Melinda
“The power of being in a room with so many beautiful women had such an impact on me.” – Michelle
Such a stunning group of beautiful, open spirits! xoxo!
One of the core values of Arise&Be is “living fully: mind, body, heart and spirit.” In order to live a full life, we need to be intentional about something that is a struggle for many women, SELF CARE. So this week, we’re thrilled to have guest blogger, Tami Hackbarth, share her thoughts on why self care is essential
THE LESSONS I LEARNED FROM CHILDREN
We learn so much about who we are, how we view the world, and how we grown when working with children. They teach us about spontaneous joy, uncontrollable laughter, and seizing the present moment. For this reason alone, I have always loved being a part of children’s lives. We have boundless opportunities for learning and growth. Children remind us of this.
But after years of teaching, I began to notice something else, they teach us when we stop believing in our power to be great and live courageous lives. The older my students became, the more the dreams of becoming a professional dancer or a race car driver shifted to fears of not ‘being enough’ or fear of ‘failing’. Not being enough for what? For who? Failing in what? Why all the pressure? Where was it coming from? These questions began to haunt me.
Grappling with reality and reconciling dreams is a process we all go through. It comes with the journey of ‘doing life’. But with age, do we really need to believe less in who as we grow our inner critic that scoffs at the dreams we once had and the hope to accomplish great things?
After teaching young children in private schools, working with junior high at-risk students in East Los Angeles, training teachers in the jungles of Belize to break the cycle of poverty, and teaching educators at universities… I wanted to learn more about supporting individuals daring to believe in more. I returned to school to research human services with the focus of exploring what influences personal growth and emotional well-being as well as what inspires transformational living. My Ph.D. focused on researching gifted women transitioning with the purpose of coaching women and supporting them in their journey.
THE ART OF ASKING PRODUCTIVE QUESTIONS
One of the most recurring questions in coaching conversations with women is the question, “What is wrong with me?!?” I hear it asked in moments of acute frustration, overwhelming despair, internal disgust, and sometimes even just out of sheer curiosity.
After noticing how often I heard women ask this, I was struck with the thought of how unhelpful this question really is. In fact, it is actually quite cruel. It hurts the person being asked and does not set anyone up to receive a fair answer. When we ask this question of ‘what’s wrong’, we do harm to our self by not allowing a fair answer to be found…and instead an assumption is made that something is indeed very wrong with us.
The truth is, nothing is ‘wrong’ with us…we are simply at a painful or confusing place in our journey. What we need are helpful questions that set us up for success to receive better answers. I have found that kinder gentler questions such as, “Where does it hurt?” or “Why am I stalled?” to be fairer questions, which eventually lead to answers that guide us.
As I listened one more time to this question being habitually tossed out in our conversation, I found myself saying, “How about we ask what is right with you?”
A STRONG COMMUNITY WAS DEVELOPED
In the belief that we are stronger together as women, I wanted to develop a community that came together holding the valuable belief that so much is right with us.
Forming a community around this powerful posture of asking helpful questions such as ‘what’s right with me?’ gives us the permission to move forward in authentic ways as we dare to explore new possibilities. To consider helpful questions challenges a whole new level of self-talk. Most importantly, it engages our critiquing abilities to focus on our strengths instead of our weaknesses, to find the solutions we need, and build the courage, confidence, and clarity to move forward. Arise & Be is a place for the woman to truly Arise…and…BE.
Communication…it makes or breaks a relationship, doesn’t it? Because of the power communication holds, it is a core value for Arise & Be. Communicating well with an emphasis on fostering positive community and relational teamwork requires a commitment to ‘weed out’ confusion and constructively address what is causing anxiety.
This was a lesson I recently learned in leading a team of highly gifted individuals. After a successful event, I began to pick up on a general sense of anxiety within the team.
After making observations and checking in with several members, I realized individuals were struggling in how to give and receive constructive feedback. There was a general unease about how to say some hard things. I soon came to understand that the anxiety was stemming from a fear of hurting feelings if they said what they were feeling.
What was needed?
We needed the space, time, and safety to communicate well. So, at our next meeting, we decided to practice giving and receiving feedback based on basic communication principles:
1. Affirm the relationship and your positive intent.
2. Specifically describe what you observed.
3. Share the impact of the behavior or action.
4. Invite the listener to respond.
5. Focus the discussion on moving forward and finding solutions together.
It was a meeting well spent. We established a safe and healthy culture to communicate what needed to be said in a way that cared for the relationship as well as directly targeted the need for growth. Because the time was taken to practice communicating well, relationships grew stronger, goals became clear and more achievable, and the group angst was replaced with a spirit of security and confidence.
When we have a sensitivity tuned into the emotional vibes coming from our relationships, we can recognize it as an opportunity to pause…address it…and step into the conversation.
Hold the tension of both honoring the relationship as well as encouraging growth. Perhaps considering these questions for your own journey in communication will help:
· Where do I want to communicate better?
· How do I want to intentionally move into a conversation?
· What is stopping me?
Taking the time to communicate intentionally is the best gift you can offer a relationship. Step into this with courage and confidence. Try out these 5 basic communication principles…you can do it!
start well. follow through. finish well.
start well. check.
finish well. no problem.
those two are my jam. but, here’s the thing… that follow through, the middle mess, the journey? sometimes oftentimes, that part is difficult and doesn’t seem to fall in line with my plan. sometimes when the going gets tough, i just want to get the heck out of dodge. and most times, that just isn’t an option.
a lot of my life’s journey is filled with grey areas and those are extremely uncomfortable spaces for me. but, i am slowly learning to turn my focus from the discomfort by asking the beautiful question, “what is my best to offer?” it’s a reminder to myself that the only sure thing that i have control of is how i show up for the journey. the question is challenging me to develop my strengths which is slowly creating a richer journey.
xoxo – mer
It was a night to launch a movement. From amazing women attending to inspirational photos….to words that change our lives…to beauty in the middle of a vineyard….we at Arise & Be were deeply moved to be apart of starting something that ignites our passion.
What are we passionate about?
Freeing up the hearts and minds of women to step into their best lives. The heartbeat for Arise & Be is community. Safe community that allows women to explore, discover, and offer their best life. We believe that it is IN community that life change happens. Women discover who they are meant to be and take the necessary steps to move into their best life.
Amidst the laughter, the food and the drinks, we were able to share our stories and hear the stories of others. Words such as Empathy, Abundance, Clarity, Love, Believe, Beauty, Passion, Freedom, Strength, and Courage showed up in the voices of the ‘community of women’ that night. It was an honor to witness the sensitivity and the strength of the woman’s spirit.
Our favorite moment during the evening was when women shared the word that most inspired them. The buzz and the energy ignited the room. We, at Arise & Be smiled. This was indicative of how much more is to come.
We are excited to be a part of supporting your journey and providing a safe place for you to explore your next steps to move into your best life. Our next 2 day-retreats are on Sunday, September 14th and Saturday, November 1st. Won’t you join us and bring a friend? Click here to be a part of our community and get the empowerment you need to enter into your best life.
We are waiting to spend the day together and anticipating with you….
With the highest of hopes of what’s to come,
Heather, Sharon, Meredith, & Michaela – The Arise & Be Team
as a team, words hold such power for us. many of our conversations center around a single word. it’s helps us define where we are at in our journey and lead us to a space of clarity. it challenges our heart, mind and spirit.
we have adventured across the country to attend a team-building conference and as we come together the night before we are embracing the word ANTICIPATION. for us it is the hope of all things to come… an open stance… the ability of our hearts to take on our journey regardless of struggle, celebration, failure or success.
with that in mind, here’s a look at what is on our mind and in our hearts as we approach tomorrow:
i am anticipating confirmation for arise&be and myself. i’m so excited about what we get to offer. i’m ready to be confirmed in what i offer and how we offer it as a team. i am opening myself to new vision. after intentionally moving out in new ways through the last five years, i’m so ready for what’s next.
i am anticipating truth. i know that each participant was intentional about being here. i’m so looking forward to being in a room with truth-tellers and enjoying the moments of genuine connection. i’m also anticipating clarity as i keep moving forward on my journey.
i’m walking into this experience with an open heart. i don’t know what to expect, but i have the faith that i will walk away having experienced awesomeness. i’m looking forward to meeting people with the same energy and spirit.
i’m anticipating love and the gift of time. this is such a worthy investment. i know that we are all deserving of this experience and i am excited to see who i cross paths with. i know that i will walk into this and meet exactly the people i need to meet. i truly cherish the opportunity to honor others and their stories.
i am anticipating clarity. i’m in a place where i have done the hard work to build the foundation for my business and i’m looking forward to what’s next. i’m excited to meet other business people and learn about the process they’ve been through. i’ve also planned many events in the past, so i cannot wait to simply enjoy the next two days and release the responsibility of the details.
a big thank you to all of our loved ones holding down the fort at home. your faith in each of us is beautiful. wish us luck!!!