Allow me to begin this entry by extending the same forgiveness and compassion to myself that I would to any of my coaching clients, friends or family. Rather than beating myself up for not posting anything since mid-December, I’ll offer my sincere apology for the time lapse, and quickly move ahead to bigger, better and brighter news. Since last we met I experienced a major Mid-Life Oasis moment when I successfully completed my first half-marathon at Disneyworld on Jan.9th, 2010. The weather turned unseasonably cold just as we arrived in Orlando. The morning of the race, (and when I say morning, I mean middle of the night – we boarded the bus at 3:30am!!!!) I waited along with several thousand other shivering crazy people for my 6:20am start time. When it began to sleet, I began to laugh, perhaps a little hysterically. This was definitely not what I had envisioned when I agreed to do this a year ago – running through the Magic Kingdom on a sunny, 50-degree day with Tinkerbelle scattering fairy dust on me to help me fly painlessly over the 13.1 mile course. No matter, once I did finally cross the finish line, I may not have been able to feel my toes or nose, but the warm feeling of personal accomplishment was well worth it. I had successfully pushed myself way out of my comfort zone (way, way out) and lived to tell the tale. I felt strong. I felt invincible. And, yes, I could hear Helen Reddy somewhere in the distance singing “I Am Woman – Hear Me Roar!” The timing couldn’t have been better, because as soon as I arrived back home in Dallas, I plunged headlong into another first-ever experience, producing “Infinite Possibility – A Night of Music, Art & Women Helping Women”, my CD release and fundraising event benefiting Women for Women International. (Saturday, March 27, 2010) With each passing day I’m learning more and more about what it takes to put together an event like this. If I had realized just how difficult, time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming this process could be back in August when I first had the idea, I might not have gone through with it. But, here’s the thing – if I had known it would be freezing rain on the day of my first half-marathon, I might not have done that either. And then I would have missed out on a pretty amazing life experience. So, I’m going to keep reminding myself, and you, that the possibilities really are infinite for us all. We can do whatever we put our minds and hearts to! (believe me – never in a million years would I have thought I would run a half-marathon – “wintery mix” or no – and yet, at 45, I did it and it was an amazing experience!) Where is your heart leading you? What do you want to accomplish this year? Whatever it may be – writing a book, starting a business, planning a trip – I’m here to tell you it’s possible. Here’s to our hopes and dreams and the Infinite Possibility of them all in 2010. All the best from my creative oasis to yours, Jill
Pink Heels Services: Business Coaching & Consulting
What inspired you to start your woman-owned business?
A few years ago I was feeling stuck, frustrated, unfulfilled and overwhelmed. Working one-on-one with a creativity coach changed my life within weeks! I returned to my love of music, began singing, writing songs and even performing again. I rediscovered the authentic me and life became a joy again. My amazing creativity coach, Jill Badonsky, thought I would make a good coach too. I loved the idea of helping other women create the positive mid-life experience that I was enjoying, so I went through an extensive training course and earned by certification as a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach. I founded Creative Oasis Coaching and now love my new mid-life career as a creative lifestyle coach!
What were your primary goals when you started working with Pink Heels?
To learn how to create a greater presence on the Internet, share my message of hope with a greater audience, and formalize my business with things like a marketing plan and branding.
What goal are you most proud of that you accomplished while working with Pink Heels?
I’m very happy that I’ve clarified my mission statement and created a strong foundation from which to continue to grow my coaching practice.
What have you learned about yourself during the journey with Pink Heels?
I’ve learned that although one-on-one coaching sessions, writing articles and blog posts and facilitating workshops, retreats and teleclasses are my favorite aspects of Creative Oasis Coaching, I am also able to handle the necessary business and marketing aspects of my practice. (with the wonderful guidance and encouragement of Pink Heels!)
What is the name of your new small business that is ‘Up & Running?’
Creative Oasis Coaching
Web Site: www.creativeoasiscoaching.com
Do you have any final thoughts that you would like to share with the world; especially any potential women entrepreneurs?
Listen to your intuition. If you have an idea that energizes you and brings you joy whenever you think about it, talk about it or write about it – you’re on the right track. Then, reach out for the support you need to make your dreams come true – whether it be working with a coach or finding a support group or taking a class. And for those women in and around the mid-life years, I truly believe that you deserve to create a Mid-Life Oasis™ – because it doesn’t have to be a crisis. I’m living proof of that!
I’m anxious, excited, and a little impatient to finish this thing, yet, on the other hand, not quite sure that I’m ready for what comes next – much like I remember feeling just before Riley Anna was born. I’d kind of gotten used to being pregnant after nine plus months, but was not so sure about the whole how-to-be-a-mom thing.
As much as I was looking forward to leaving the studio each day with a few more songs completed, we kept coming up with tasty ideas to try here and there and ended up recording more tracks rather than just mixing. We were all enjoying the process too much to really worry about the fact that we’d gotten a bit off track. (Talk about an oasis – the studio time may be my ultimate Mid-Life Oasis!) I know in my heart that the end result will be much richer, fully realized songs.
I realized this was a perfect example of the non-linearity of the creative process. There’s no scientific formula for creating the ideal song. You have a feeling first, and then an idea and then maybe a memory pops up and says “hey would it be weird or wonderful to put sleigh bells on this part?” – so you try playing some sleight bells and see how that sounds. (BTW – it sounded wonderful)
Being open to the non-linear process has been a blessing. Some songs have changed formation, direction and intonation and songs that we thought were ready to stick a fork in (‘cuz those suckers were done!) – have benefited greatly from – “what if” – what if we add a lower harmony here or change the sound of the bass or add a concertina? Winding down the creative path with this music has been the trip of a lifetime for me and a real-life reinforcement of two powerful creative coaching techniques – being open to the non-linear and asking “what if”.
Just as with my own baby girl (now 10!!!!), I’m sure these songs will be more beautiful, meaningful and exceptional to me than anyone else – and that’s okay, because I also believe that like my amazingly intuitive, empathetic, and loving daughter – these songs will (hopefully) touch people in a positive and profound way, like she does every day.
It’s been such a treat to have my husband, Doug, in the studio co-producing with us. And, although Riley Anna remains our greatest creative collaboration to date, she’s still a work in progress, where as, very soon now I will step out of Pleasantry Lane Studios for the final time and the CD will be complete – 13 songs – fully formed and ready to make their way out into the world. I guess that’s why I’m beginning to play the “what if” game with the next phase – the CD release celebration! Great things are brewing and you’ll be the first to know what they are so stay tuned…
All the best from my creative oasis to yours,
My daughter, Riley Anna, recently turned ten years old. “TEN YEARS OLD!! DOUBLE DIGITS! I’m a TWEEN! Only three years ‘til I’m a TEENAGER!” (The all caps and exclamation points are hers, not mine, I can assure you.) My response to her overzealous excitement at turning ten was more along the lines of a quiet– “Woo-hoo. That’s great.” – followed by a tearful spell locked in the bathroom – every mom’s one sure “alone” place in the house. Of course, I’m thrilled to watch my daughter as she grows into such a loving, empathetic, fun, entertaining, caring person. But this milestone birthday brought home the fact that a decade is a good chunk of time, and this last chunk whizzed by at a rate that makes my head spin. Given traditional wisdom, the next will fly by with even faster. So what does this mean? Since I gave birth to Riley Anna at age 34 (I just barely missed “advanced maternal age” – isn’t that a charming medical phrase?) – you do the math. I’m coming up on a milestone birthday of my own and making great strides into this time of life we call “mid”. It seems like a good time to step back and take stock of my life, so I have. And you know what? I wouldn’t go back a decade for all the Botox in Hollywood! Since turning 40 I’ve experienced some of the best times of my life. I’ve been writing, performing and recording my original music again after years away from it. I’ve made time for meditation almost every morning of the past four years. I’ve been trained and certified as a creativity coach and now have the distinct privilege and pleasure of helping other people create and live their best lives. I’ve taken up running and am loving it, and I’m even training for a half-marathon – something I never would have done as a 20 or 30 year old! All this to say – if you’re ready for a change – if you’re hoping there’s something more – if you’re experiencing a little trepidation about the prospect of your next birthday – take a page from my daughter’s book. Own your age! LOVE IT! Be thrilled by the possibility of it all! Each new year brings new opportunities to do what we’ve never done, go where we’ve never gone, try what we’ve never tried. Now’s the time to go for it! As I like to say, “I’m having a Mid-Life Oasis – because it’s to much nicer than a crisis!” Join me, won’t you?
At 9,600 feet elevation, you have a new appreciation for oxygen and your lungs ability to pump it through your respiratory system. I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I take my morning run through the scenic mountain town of Breckenridge. During the first five minutes or so, my lungs experience a slight burning sensation and my brain sends little “are you kidding me – we’re really going to do this?” messages. But, soon, I find my rhythm and the clean mountain air feels great and my mind focuses on the tranquil beauty of the river, bright blues skies and surrounding mountains. (especially novel and amazing sights for a flatlander from Dallas, Texas) My body takes over and does what it’s designed to do without my giving it another thought.
It’s so easy to take something as omnipresent as oxygen for granted in our day-to-day lives. And yet, when we experience something as basic and ordinary as breathing in a new set of conditions (in a higher altitude, as we exercise, or a combination of both) its preciousness becomes more apparent. Even in my everyday life back in Dallas, I sometimes notice that I’m not taking full breaths. When I have this realization and remedy it by taking in a few deep, cleansing breathes, the relaxing and energizing effects are immediate and transformative – an instant oasis, if you will.
A wonderful doctor, Dr. Margaret Christensen, posts as signs all around her office that simply say “Breathe”. I’m always amazed how within the course of a visit with her, I’m reminded to breath a half-dozen times or more and how wonderful it feels. It’s unbelievable really, but most of us forget to really connect with our breath and breathe deeply the majority of the time. It’s as if we have this magical device at our disposal that we neglect to use. Feeling stressed, anxious or nervous? Take a nice deep breath and let it go. Dangerously close to losing your cool with your co-worker or kid? Breathe deeply and feel the calm flow throughout your body. Feeling particularly grateful for something, breathe in and let the positive energy expand within you.
My dear friend, Jane Baldwin, founder of Pranasalara, (which translates to “breathing through illusion to freedom”) leads amazing breathing circles. Using special breathing techniques, she guides you into a state that transcends the usual mind/body/spirit condition and allows you to experience a soul-cleansing release that is truly extraordinary.
So, the first lesson the mountains have shared with me this summer, and my gentle reminder to you is this – remember to breathe. You have the magical power to bring a calm, focused energy to yourself – anytime, anywhere – your breath. How great is that?
All the best from my oasis to yours,
Beach people are happy people, generally at least. During my sunrise runs, most people I pass on the beach are content, if not downright joyful. Fishing, walking their dogs, running barefoot along the shoreline (like me) or up on softer sand in running shoes with headphones. To me, an early morning walk or run on the beach is one of life’s greatest pleasures and a true “oasis moment”. (I believe this would be true even if I were lucky enough to live near a beach and have the opportunity to run there anytime I wanted and not just the one or two weeks out of a year that vacation currently allows. A theory I hope to test in the future!)
Recently, I realized during one of these morning constitutionals that I was so focused on the stretch of sand just ahead of me that I had to remind myself to stop and take a moment to turn to the sea, to breathe in the fresh morning air and drink in the splendor of the foamy white waves rolling onto the shoreline. As I took a moment to revel in the beauty and rhythm of the rolling waves, the sounds of the surf and feel of the salty breeze on my face and the soft sand beneath my feet, I realized that this was just like our day-to-day lives. Often, we set off running through our days – seeing only the few feet in front of us – attention focused on the immediate tasks at hand. It’s only when we remind ourselves to stop and really take in the wonder and beauty of life that we can revel in the present moment. It seems to me that one of the benefits of mid-life is this is a time we finally begin to appreciate how delightful, how important and how absolutely necessary it is to stop and smell the roses (or sea air, or first cup of coffee of the day). In our 20’s we’re usually moving fast and furiously (even if we don’t know what we’re moving towards). In our 30’s – we may have others’ needs to consider (a partner, a child, a boss…) and we tend to put our needs on the back burner. But as we approach our 40’s and beyond, it begins to dawn on us – “Hey – this is my life. No one else is going to live it or enjoy it for me. I better starting doing some things that I want to do for a change!” Mid-life oasis here I come! And, if by chance you haven’t had that though yet, let me by the first to share it with you – take some time today, (take some time every day), to treat yourself to an oasis moment. Turn towards the waves and the rising sun in your world and revel in it. Paint your toenails or a canvas or a t-shirt. Toast your girlfriends or some marshmallows around a campfire in your backyard. Take a walk – even if it’s just around the block and notice five things you’ve never seen before. Dedicate the experience to yourself. Be fully present in the moment and let it fill you with delight. Then watch how little bursts of joy seep into other aspects of your day. You may find yourself smiling for no particular reason other than it just feels better that way. Beach people are happy people…and my wish for you today is that you enjoy a little bit of beach people attitude wherever you may be.