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5 Reasons Why I’d Rather Go On a Women’s Retreat Than a Vacation

Going on a Women's Retreat is better than a vacation for it gives you long-term benefits – centering, healing and rejuvenating your mind, body and spirit.

“I think it is essential sometimes to go into retreat, to stop everything that you have been doing, to stop your beliefs and experiences completely and look at them anew, not keep on repeating like machines whether you believe or don’t believe. You would let fresh air into your minds.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

Have you ever come home from a vacation more exhausted than when you went? Usually this happens when you try to cram in too many activities. Or to the other extreme, you laze around the pool, doing absolutely nothing except eating and drinking too much.

Either way, you may be missing the whole point of vacation – to refresh and reinvigorate yourself. As soon as you get back to “the real world”, stress piles up again. Plus you may have the added burdens of detoxing and getting rid of the extra pounds.

Instead, why not try a women’s retreat that balances your mind, body, spirit? This is something that I love to do! And here are five reasons why I think you’ll love a body wisdom women’s retreat too…

  1. Women’s retreats produce long-term benefits.

Retreats are designed to help you connect with your body’s wisdom so you can lead a more balanced lifestyle. You’ll experience emotional release and physical rejuvenation. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how these feelings stay with you and improve your health once you return home. Choose a retreat that gives you the time and space to reconnect with yourself and center by aligning your emotions, beliefs, values, goals and intentions.

  1. Women’s retreats are designed for introspection and reflection.

Visiting a beautiful and tranquil location puts you in a contemplative frame of mind. It’s important to quiet outside “noises” so you can “hear” what your body, mind and spirit are communicating.

  1. Women’s retreats help you connect with nature.

Being close to nature is very healing. It reduces the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Filling your lungs and soul on the clean air and peaceful surroundings lets your body, mind and spirit calm, giving you a fresh start.

  1. Retreats surround you with like-minded people – your guide and fellow attendees.

There are so many types of retreats. You get to pick a retreat where the guide leads sessions in what you desire to improve the most – health & wellness retreats, fitness retreats, meditation retreats, and body wisdom retreats to name a few possibilities. Look for techniques that will enhance your life long-term.  

Group retreats bring together women who have similar concerns or interests. Because you have similar goals and intentions, you can build a support system. The others can act as a mirror to help you identify issues that you can’t clearly see by yourself. It’s good to know that you’re not alone, that others are on the same path. Women’s retreats are also a fantastic way to find new life-long intimate friendships.

  1. Women’s retreats are managed for you. You don’t have to worry about planning or finding places to eat and sleep. Your retreat facilitator takes care of all those stressful things. You just have your well-being to focus on. Another perk is that you’re more likely to receive exclusive features and discounts because of being in a group.

This year I’m leading a Body’s Wisdom Women’s Retreat through Italy. We’ll discover beautiful Sicily while learning to connect with the body’s untapped wisdom and practice centering, rejuvenating and mindfulness techniques. I plan on making this an annual event. Want to join me? Contact me with any questions.

Interested in Continuous Learning? How Adding Slack to Your Day Helps

If you want to get more done, enjoy everything you do, feel satisfied with life as you reach your full potential, then develop a continuous learning mindset“Get more done.” That seems to be the mantra of many productivity gurus. They advise, “Schedule your day, your week, the next six months, the next five years, and you’ll get more done.” The problem with this approach is that it leaves little time for tapping into the transformative power of continuous learning.

While there are many benefits to schedules and to-do lists, if you’re not careful you can get stuck in just getting through the day, getting stuff done. And when “life” happens it blows your well-ordered life to pieces.

On the other hand, if you focus on living mindfully, and you adopt a continuous learning mindset, you’ll be able to savor each moment, squeezing the very essence out of every day. When you practice embodied learning in a way that extracts the things, emotions, nuggets of wisdom that really matter, that’s when you gain richness and meaning in your life.

Here’s the key to successfully embracing a lifelong, continuous learning lifestyle…

Instead of striving for the maximum productivity, purposely create slack in your day so you have room for curiosity, creativity, doing quality work and really mastering a skill. It might seem counter intuitive to take slack time out of your busy schedule. And you might feel resistance against the idea. Yet I assure you, it works!

Adding slack to your day supports continuous learning because…

1. You get to focus on what you really want to learn. You stop thinking only about accomplishments (which leads to perfectionism). Instead, you start enjoying the process of trial and error, with the goal of becoming competent. This approach builds in the acceptance that you don’t have to, nor want to, do things perfectly, because what you want is to learn.

2. You get to switch from doing things automatically to doing things deliberately. You reclaim your power by accepting responsibility. You make the choices. You don’t blame yourself or others if something doesn’t work as you expected. You look for opportunities to make improvements.

3. You get to accept honest feedback. It’s one thing to ask for feedback and another to accept it graciously. Being a lifelong learner gives you the strength of character to embrace it, not viewing it as criticism but as a learning experience that makes you better.

4.You get to develop insight. You’ll understand “why” something is as it is. You’ll have a better perspective on the lessons involved, seeing the reasons why you or someone else feels, thinks and acts as they do. This takes your understanding to a much deeper level and helps you create stronger connections with yourself and others.

5. You get to create solutions as problems arise. When you’re on a tight schedule, it’s tempting to put problems on the back burner, but that makes them simmer and grow into crises. Having slack gives you the space to address problems while they’re small.

Become a lifelong learner by making time for continuous learning. Please set aside time for learning activities and experiences. Read a book each week, engage in deep conversations, take classes, and cultivate your power of observation.

Learn something new every day. For example, the next time an “automatic” activity and response arises, stop yourself and think about which skill you can practice. Do you want to communicate more effectively? Practice that. Do you want to influence others for the good? Then practice that. Do you want to find joy and happiness? Practice that.

In this way, you retrain yourself to view every event as an opportunity to learn and improve. By focusing on continuous learning, you’ll feel more satisfied because what you do brings you pleasure, a sense of accomplishment and knowledge that you’re living up to your full potential.

If you’d like specific pointers on how you can implement these suggestions as you live a more intentional life, please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

Rediscover Your Intellectual Curiosity – Be the Innovative Thought Leader Everyone Wants to Consult

It’s time you rediscover your intellectual curiosity, since it’s the hallmark of great leaders, innovative solutions and better relationships - here’s how“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ~ Walt Disney

“Why?” If you’ve been around a little child any length of time, you’ve been plagued with that question. Many parents get tired of it and start saying “because I said so,” just to get them to quit.

As the child enters school, she’s taught to look up answers not find them for herself by thinking things through. She memorizes then forgets, as each test comes and goes. Before too long the child learns to repress her curiosity as she merely mimics what others say. Her joy of learning has been squelched.

We should never lose the ability to ask questions, for it reveals the greatest secrets of life. Great inventors, scientists, researchers, and leaders all wonder why something works while something else doesn’t. It’s how they discover wondrous, new things. They nurture their intellectual curiosity.

Intellectual curiosity inspires us to solve problems and think creatively. It takes us on a joyous journey of discovery. As Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Cameron said, “Curiosity is the most powerful thing you own.” We should do everything in our power to keep it alive.

You’ll be amazed at what you can learn by looking at things that people don’t usually pay attention to. Use the following suggestions to rediscover your intellectual curiosity. This process can be used in closely examining every aspect of life, from  relationships, to systems, to tangible objects.

1. Observe people with mindfulness. You can learn a lot, without becoming intrusive, as you notice what people do and say, wonder why they do it, and how it makes the participants feel. You’ll begin to notice behaviors, emotions, and patterns that give you insight into what makes people tick.

2. Ask questions that promote observation. Look at a situation with fresh eyes and consider:

  • Where does this work? Where wouldn’t this work?
  • Why does this work? Why doesn’t it work?
  • When does this work? When doesn’t this work?
  • Who will this work for? Who doesn’t this work for?
  • What elements work? What elements don’t?

3. Ask the question that promotes change – “what if?” People daily encounter frustrations that need solutions. You could be the catalyst for change by simply identifying an innovative solution. How can you do this?

  • Train yourself to make notes about every frustration you see, anything from communication breakdowns to products that don’t work. Just create the habit of note taking what you observe.
  • Identify the underlying problem that creates this frustration.
  • List possible solutions. What if it was bigger, smaller, faster, slower, kinder, or more forceful? Let your imagination run wild with possibilities.
  • Mentally or physically take it apart to see if it’s a feasible solution. By dissecting every aspect of your solution you’ll identify places that need more work.

Remember, this process of mindful intellectual curiosity works not only for tangible objects but also for examining your life experiences and processing what’s happening with your emotions, too. It allows you see all sides and make adjustments as needed.

It takes practice to keep your intellectual curiosity alive. Why not choose an idea, product or service that is an unexpected success and apply the above suggestions. That will get you started. If you’d like to delve deeper into how you can become a great leader, please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

Develop Your Professional Expertise by Keeping 3 Steps Ahead

Learn to gain self-confidence as you develop your talents into a professional expertise that you can use to build a satisfying and successful business.Would you like to turn your personal talents into a business that you love? You can when you discover your genius and build your professional expertise around the things you love to do, working with the kind of people you enjoy. Does this idea appeal to you? Do you wonder if it’s possible for YOU?

I know it is, because that’s exactly what I’ve been able to do. It takes work and effort, but if I can do it, so can you.

“But Maria”, you might say, “I don’t know what my genius is! I don’t have a specialty. I’m too ordinary.” If that’s how you feel, don’t despair. You can become an expert.

Usually the thing that makes developing a professional expertise so overwhelming is that you think you have to know everything about a subject before you can consider yourself an expert. Let me tell you a secret I’ve learned along the way… you don’t need to know everything. You just need to stay three steps ahead of the people you’re serving. And that makes it very doable!

Why three? Our brains seem to more easily grasp things in threes. It forms a pattern that we remember better. Add more to the mix and we become confused. Just think about some common trios: red, white and blue; blood, sweat and tears; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; mind, body, and spirit;  A,B,C’s; 1, 2, 3; three blind mice; three little pigs; the three musketeers; and Larry, Curly, and Moe. People who originated these concepts intuitively recognized that three is a powerful number.

This principle of keeping three steps ahead applies to any business you have. Whether you’re providing a service, coaching an individual or leading a large group. Your community will see you as an expert if you teach them something they don’t know, or if you can do something they can’t do. You don’t have to know everything to be an expert.In fact, it’s impossible to know everything. You just need to know more than the person you’re teaching or leading.

Staying three steps ahead puts you in the place where you can do your best work. It keeps you in the sweet spot – not too far ahead that you forget what it’s like at their level; and not too far behind, which is so stressful.

 For example, if you’re ten steps ahead, you may forget part of the process and not be able to connect as deeply as they need. On the other hand, If you’re only one step ahead, you probably haven’t integrated your learning enough to have “worked out all the bugs” as the saying goes.

Part of living a healthy life is making sure we’re not staying at the same level personally or professionally. We, as creative humans, are happiest when we’re growing and expanding our knowledge, skills and expertise.

As you expand your professional expertise, you’ll find that there will be things that you outgrow. Over time you’ll weed out what doesn’t bring you joy, and you’ll pinpoint the things that keep you excited and engaged.

Don’t try to hang on to something just because it’s familiar or you’re afraid of trying something new, or you think you owe it to the people in your community. If you’ve outgrown it, be assured there’s someone else out there who can step in and fill that place.Keep yourself in your sweet spot of being three steps ahead and you’ll feel comfortable enough while still feeling challenged. That’s what keeps life exciting and fresh.

So what is it you love doing, or that you do easily? If you’d like help identifying or stepping into your professional expertise more fully, feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Let me  guide and support you as you explore your options.

Master the Art of Continuous Self Improvement to Achieve Lasting Results

If you want to master the art of continuous self improvement so you see consistent and constant results, then you won’t want to miss this crucial element.If you’re like me, you want lasting results from your efforts. But often our efforts at self-improvement are more like a yo-yo – we go up and then we come back down. Are you frustrated by the time and money you’ve invested just to end up back where you started? If so, you’re ready to master the art of continuous self-improvement.

We all have something we don’t like about ourselves. And, let’s be honest; we’re looking for the magic that instantly transforms without much effort. But you know life isn’t a fairy tale, right? It took years to become the person you are today. You can’t expect to change overnight.

How can you make continuous self-improvement your way of life so it sticks and you don’t revert back to old habits? It begins with being fully aware and committed to a self-improvement habit.

Yes, self-improvement must be its own habit. That’s what so many people miss…they don’t think about making self-improvement a habit. How do you do that?

Carve out time for a daily self-improvement session and commit to keeping it. Start with something easy like 15 minutes each day. Turn this scheduled time into a habit that’s as strong as your other habits like eating, walking, or sleeping. This session is YOUR TIME for only self-improvement activities.

At the beginning, it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, other than learning to commit to this dedicated time. You can read, journal, make lists, listen to audios, do Yoga. Just keep this self-improvement appointment with yourself.

Concentrate on strengthening your self-improvement “muscle” by reminding yourself that…

You CAN do it! Your thoughts shape your reality. Believe in yourself. You deserve to live your best life ever.

Self-help resources are tools. Tools don’t get the work done. The workman does. So it’s your job to become skilled at using them in a way that fits your life and your needs. Put in the time and practice it takes to become skilled. It’s not supposed to come easily. Hard work pushes your boundaries so you finally start growing as a person.

Change comes from making new routines. Just as you don’t have to think about how to walk – you do it automatically – you can actually physically create pathways in your brain for your new self-improvement routines. In time, they become so firmly entrenched they become second nature for you.

It takes honesty. Realize where you are right now and set realistic goals. First you may need to go back to basics like stopping procrastination or overcoming compulsions. Your construction is only as good as the foundation you set.

Patience is essential. You’re in this for a lifetime. You’re never going to be “done”; you’re simply getting better. Remember your achievements, be persistent and enjoy the process.

Success comes from turning information into action. Pick one thing you can do today and DO IT. Taking in information is not going to bring transformation. That’s like reading a cookbook without making the recipe. You’re not nourishing yourself until you put the food in your mouth, chew it, and digest it. Just do something!

Any improvement is success. There will always be room for further improvement, so don’t look at how far you still have to go. Recognize and celebrate how far you’ve come.  

Oftentimes it helps to have an accountability partner. I’d love to help you achieve your most excellent self. Feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype), and let’s get started. Also be sure to download The 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment. It’s free and is a great way to pinpoint the area of life you want to improve first.

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