Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Photos from Olympic National Forest, Washington State (Renee Peterson Trudeau)

We recently returned from our visit to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. The trip was wonderful in many ways --though not very relaxing (as those of you with young, very active kids know). But overall, I was really grateful for the opportunity to get away and be alone with my family.

The highlights were the stunning natural jewels (Cape Flattery, the Hoh Rainforest, Sol Duc Hot Springs, Hurricane Ridge, Dungeness Spit, wild raspberry picking--see my pics above) and the amazing local/organic fruits and vegetables we devoured throughout the trip. We also loved the log cabin we rented http://www.vrbo.com/184006 that sat on 40 acres and looked out on the Olympic mountains, a natural pond and fruit orchard. And, we really enjoyed the hot tub late at night, breathing in the cool 50-degree weather while stargazing into a black, black and oh-so quiet night.

Coming back and "re-entering" the world is always hard after you've had the opportunity to slow down to a more natural pace. And, it takes a lot of intention and awareness upon your re-entry to not get sucked into the "do, do do, go, go, go" that typifies the American lifestyle.

If you read my blog, you know how much I struggle with balancing "being' and doing" in the world and how important I consider this journey to be.

Lately, I'm hearing from more and more professionals in the field of well-being (ob-gyns, therapists, parent coaches, nutritionists, yoga/movement teachers) about how concerned they are with our high stress and anxiety levels, how hurried we always are and what this is doing to our bodies, minds, spirits, hearts and children. (This morning I saw my wonderful ob-gyn for my annual exam and she said lately the top two topics her clients keep bring up are "stress and sex." (Specifically the lack of sex in their marriages.)

We're busy. Very, very busy. I think, too busy.

This is affecting us physically in dramatically and life-altering ways such as increases in the rate of diabetes, heart-disease, strokes, depression, suicide and there are new medical findings that now believe stress actually causes 80-90% of all illnesses!

Being overly-busy, stressed and not present in our relationships is also taking its toll on us emotionally and with partners and children. And, when it comes to work--more and more studies are coming out about how counterproductive multitasking to the extreme is on our ability to deliver quality results on the job. (See my last blog post about how productive and creative I was this summer after slowing down.)

So where does this leave us?

It's easy to get overwhelmed when addressing this subject. So, I'm a big believer in starting with ourselves.

This week, the questions I'm asking are:

What day-to-day choices can I make to feel more grounded, relaxed, focused and live as authentically and intentionally as I can each day?

What daily, practices--such as prayer/meditation-- support me in starting each day feeling centered?

What self-care activities help keep me relaxed, calm and add spaciousness to my day (check out my book chapter on self care here: http://www.reneetrudeau.com/book/Transformative_Power_of_Self_Care.pdf)?

What can I say "no" to (professionally and personally)?

How can I support my husband and son in being less busy?

How can I not get sucked into other's "busy-ness" and constant sense of urgency and make sure I'm staying true to what's important to me?

What choices do I need to honor in order to create more expanses of unscheduled time in my life?

How about you? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. I'm sure we could all benefit from one another's ideas.

P.S. If you're wanting to slow down and be with other women who want to focus on their self-care and living more intentionally, consider joining us at The Crossings Sept. 26-28 for my Fall Self-Renewal Retreat. We have a couple of spots left and if there is a commuter option available, too: http://www.reneetrudeau.com/order/womensretreat.html.


Kyra Cavanaugh said...

Just reading your blog post helped me slow down today--thank you!

The comments of your ob-gyn reinforce what I hear from my friends all of the time. The busy-ness of our lives causes us to forget what is most important: our relationship with ourselves and with our families.

I made that mistake once in my life, and it's a mistake I've committed myself to never making again. As busy as I am, as an entrepreneur, a mother and a wife, I always remember that the reason I am doing all of this is for my family and myself.

By keeping our family (that means husband, too!) and self in focus at all times--as a foundation, not a distraction--we can keep ourselves from straying too far off course.

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