We received more than 300 entries into the Year-of-Self-Care Retreat Giveaway and as I sat reading these moving, inspiring, wise, sometimes funny and very real
shares--in response to "What Does Self-Care Mean to Me?"-- what touched me deeply were the reoccurring messages of self-forgiveness, releasing guilt and believing I
deserve self-care, learning to cultivate self-compassion, breathing and listening to my body, remembering to laugh and find joy in everyday life, expressing and connecting with my authentic self, being fully "me" (not who others want me to be) and how powerful it is to get a good night's sleep!
I've been teaching, studying and practicing the art of self-care--which I define as attuning and responding to your deepest needs and desires--for 12 years and all I can say is it's a journey that doesn't end--it definitely keeps deepening, widening and expanding. And today, I really see self-care as a spiritual practice. Learning to cultivate self-acceptance, self-compassion and responding to what I need--moment to moment--has had a profound effect on every area of my life.
The winner! So, Sunday a.m. after my son brought me breakfast in bed, he drew a name at random from the entries. And ....Nora got the call with the good news that SHE WON the $2700 retreat package! (It took us a while to track her down--she's in the middle of finishing her dissertation!)
Nora and I connected on Monday and she shared that she and her husband Doug (married 20 years) have two special needs kids Kiernan, 13, and Ripley, 10. They live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Nora building a fire on Lake Superior with her boys.
Nora shared, “When I read Renee's e-newsletter on the giveaway, the self-care message was so timely for where I was at that week. I entered the contest because it made me reflect on self-care and what I really needed. I found Renee's life balance site/newsletter a couple years ago; last year I participated in a Personal Renewal Group with Sarina LaMarche. It's been so incredibly supportive that I decided to take the class again this year. The best thing about winning this prize is the chance to take a break (more than a couple hours), and spend time reflecting on where I need to go this next year to do a better job of self-care and what lessons I've learned that I can share with others in my life. I'm also very excited to get together with other women -- I believe there's a synergy that happens when we come together intentionally. I can't remember the last time I went away for a weekend just for me, not for work or with the family. This is really an incredible gift!”
Here are a few highlights from the entries we received on The Journey, through our Live Inside Out Community and through our self-care book giveaway program (thanks to
all our partners!) in response to the question: What does self-care mean to you? I encourage you to read them all!
- Tania--tuning into the voice in my heart--and responding.
- Pat--connecting with my inner self on hearing how best to love myself in the moment.
- Allison--believing I'm worthy of self-care.
- Bluefeather--understanding that it's not about spending money, but about taking even 30 seconds at the beginning of the day to check in around what I most need that day.
- Jodi--I know I'm embracing self-care when I can laugh instead of snap at my well-meaning husband and be happy--instead of overwhelmed--by my wacky house.
- Aidan's mom--taking time to invest in my marriage--as it is such a source of nurturing for me.
- Claire--being near and playing in water deeply nourishes me.
- Leila-listening to my body when it begs for exercise rather than my mind who is saying "deadlines, deadlines!"
- AnnieB--treating myself the way I am teaching my children to treat others; this is often challenging to do.
- Tammy G--forgiving myself for not getting everything done on my list because my son had a list of his own that didn't include laundry and errands.
- Kerry--sometimes self-care looks like slowing down enough to rescue wayward worms from the storm puddles in the morning.
- Ida Kim--asking "what do I need?" and honoring and keeping the appointments I make with my sweet self.
- Michelle--treating myself like I would a cherished best friend.
- Jennifer--saying, "No," when I need to, and reserving my "Yes" for what's most important to me.
- Haley--allowing myself to live an authentic life and to follow my passions without guilt.
- JennGator--remembering that what's most important--and what feeds me--is not putting away laundry or unloading the dishwasher, but expressing love to my daughter.
Thanks to all of you for participating in this community event (and huge thanks to the good folks at Kripalu for donating the retreat!). I hope that being challenged to answer, "What does self-care mean to me?" caused you to pause and even
for a moment--reflect on how you treat, care for and talk to yourself.
Interested in learning more about The Transformative Power of Self-Care? Here's a free chapter from my book on this theme and some great free life balance teleclasses to
jump start your self-care journey. Let us know how we can support you in tapping into this powerful teaching!
P.S. Never been on a retreat, but always wanted to? For 20 years, I have taken retreats and led retreats because I find that periodically stepping away from my life, gives me
the perspective I need to remember what matters most and reconnect with my true self. (And of course, I also love the deep nourishment and relaxation that come
from a weekend totally devoted to my needs and desires!). There's still room in my June 22-24 New Way of Being: Women's Self-Renewal Retreat if you want to join us at the beautiful Kripalu Center for Yoga & Wellness in MA! We'd love to have you continue this conversation with us in our upcoming women's circle.
I love to hear from, connect with and meet The Journey readers at our events. I invite you to:
- Find Your Tribe: Join or learn to facilitate Personal Renewal Groups for women
- Attend a retreat/event including my June 8th Empowered Entrepreneur and June 22-24 Kripalu retreat;check out all upcoming events
- Learn about Live Inside Out and receive weekly inspiration on our Live Inside Out Facebook Community
- Pick up my life balance title The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal from the library or buy it here or at your local bookstore
- Read past issues of my Life Balance newsletter or Career Management newsletter
- Take Action: Contact one of our career or life balance coaches for 1-on-1 support; receive an initial complimentary consultation
- Empower Others: Schedule Renee for a private workshop or retreat for your company or organization
- I Choose Love PSA: a reminder that when we come from love--one of the most powerful yet underutilized forces on the planet--we have the ability to transcend fear and remember what we're really hear to do: give and receive love. Learn more
Subscribe to The Journey, a weekly blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey to creating balance from the inside out.
Photo at top: My sweet ten-year-old son holding the winner's name with great care. "Mama, she'll be soooo excited!!"