I recently returned from a 3-day retreat where there was no cell service and no internet. What an unusual and blissful experience!
When my friend who I was driving with said there was no cell service at the retreat location, I initially felt some relief and then quickly thought of whom I should text to alert them.
When we arrived at the “spot”, a rustic building by the ocean, I started to relax and drink in the beauty of our surroundings. When I checked into my room, which was small, yet comfortable, I was intrigued by the monkey tree outside my window and felt blessed to have a room with a view of the ocean. For me, being by, in or on the water is where I feel most at home. At a Vision Quest a number of years ago, an aboriginal elder dreamt in my medicine name, which is “Laughing Otter Heart”. Initially I thought, that’s not as reverent as my friend’s name “Soaring Dawn Eagle”, yet it so connects me to the essence of who I am; to water, being in nature and my playful side. Now I smile when I think of it.
Within a short time of being at the retreat center, I felt all my cares melt away; my shoulders lightened, my mind quieted and I connected to my “being” side, (as I am often “doing”). I so enjoyed the three days of interacting with the other amazing women, facilitating my portion of the workshop and basking in the joy of being “unplugged” and in nature.
Did you know that the Japanese have done longitudinal research on the benefits of walking in forests? They have found that walking in forests strengthens your immune system, reduces your heart rate and your blood pressure. Based on these findings, they have institutionalized what they call “forest bathing” or “forest therapy” and have created a number of centers across Japan where people can go and walk in forests. How powerful is that!
With such busy lives and the associated stresses, regularly spending time in nature, and unplugging from technology are simple yet powerful practices that have amazingly positive benefits on our bodies, our minds and our relationships.
When was the last time you unplugged and spent time in nature? I welcome your thoughts and experiences below and invite you to share the post with others.
Source: “deposit photos” – http://depositphotos.com/8148540/stock-photo-backpacker.html
When I first launched my coaching practice that initially focused on supporting people through various life transitions, I attracted a number of women with various physical ailments from lack of sensation to pain in different parts of their bodies. When I took them through an exercise to help them to clarify their top five core values, an interesting thing happened; for almost all of them a “light bulb” went on. They realized they were in a job or a relationship that was severely out of alignment with one or most of their top five core values.
So what are values and why are they important?
Values are the beliefs and principles that are at the core of our being. We learn them from our parents, from people who have had a significant impact on our lives, and from our life experiences. They “determine” our perceptions of and reactions to people, situations and events in our lives.
Personal values might include achievement, commitment, contribution, connection, integrity, or family. If you are a High Achieving Woman, it is important that you set goals and achieve them on a regular basis in order for you to feel good about yourself. If “contribution” is one of your core values, feeling that you are contributing and making a difference in the world positively affects your well-being.
Have you ever met someone and after having a short conversation with them felt uncomfortable? When someone steps on or pushes up against one of your core values, you may feel uncomfortable, or angry, or protective of another. For example, if “social justice” is important to you, when you see someone behaving disrespectfully to an individual from another cultural group, something fires inside you and you naturally want to stand up for the individual. Getting clear on your personal values helps you better understand yourself and your reactions to others.
Knowing your top five core values also assists with your life choices. If you choose a business partner who is all about competition and you value collaboration, over time this will bother you. If you value connection and are not able to openly communicate about feelings with a friend or partner, over time the relationship won’t grow stronger as you will feel something is missing or that you need more.
In summary, identifying your top five core values is critical to better understanding yourself and your reactions to certain individuals and situations. Using your core values to assist you in choosing a partner, career or workplace is essential to creating a life of health, happiness, true fulfillment and inner peace.
How have your core values influenced you and your choices? I welcome your comments below.
 This is an excerpt from my book Learning to Dance with life: A Guide for High Achieving Women available here: www.amazon.com/dp/B0145ZGDO2