a bit of light in the darkness of our times

I don’t talk politics on social media, nor do I often comment on my husband James’ work (mostly because I can’t) … but what’s currently happening in our country has fueled a desperate need for James’ particular area of expertise…

He’s constantly being asked to participate in high-level discussions, and I’ll admit it’s fun to see people like Montel Williams retweeting and commenting on his tweets. 😉

This morning he’s being interviewed for a documentary for Nat Geo.

Yesterday he was part of a critical conversation at Harvard.

He’s been doing this work (counter-terrorism) since 9/11. It’s dark and depressing and scary work to me.

But I’m so proud of him.

Wake-Up Messages & Early Morning Insights

Almost every morning, I wake up with a phrase or a song in my head. It’s the first thing I notice, and I try to pay attention to it and really take the message to heart.

This morning, I woke to the distinct voice of Olympia Dukakis as Clairee in Steel Magnolias saying in her southern accent…

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Sometimes it’s just being reminded to have faith that all will be well, that things are always working out for our best and highest good, even if we can’t see that in the present moment.

Some days that’s easier than others, for sure. Yet this morning, I’m taking those words to heart – and keeping the faith strong.

Your turn: Share in the comments if this resonates with you too.



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Summer reading…

I read a lot all year long, but in the summer, I try to read at least one autobiography. Off the top of my head, I’ve read Barbara Walters, James Lipton, Steven Tyler, Michael J Fox, I tried to read Tina Fey’s but I couldn’t get through it (very unusual for me not to finish a book), Gordon Ramsey, Melissa Gilbert, Ashley Judd and many more I can’t think of right now…

This summer I’m about to start Arianna Huffington’s Thrive…

Is there an autobiography (I prefer written by the author even if with the help of another writer, ghost or not) that you’ve read and enjoyed and received some insight from?

I’d love to know!

I’ve been there…

In 2009, I started thinking about the hosting my own live event, but even though I had a great coach to help me plan it, her events were far larger and much more involved than anything I wanted to do…

And so I held back.

Then I started feeling pressured to move forward with this idea, so I contacted a nice hotel near the airport, submitted my request to host a 3-day event there, and then nearly passed out when the 15-page contract arrived – along with a required MINIMUM commitment of $15k from me.


So I decided to toss the whole idea until I could come up with a way to do it that felt good to me – and that didn’t make my heart palpitate in fear!

I asked myself what kind of event I really wanted to do. Not what ‘everyone’ else was doing, but what felt easy, fun, and much more me…

What I came up with was this…

I didn’t want to hold it at the airport. I didn’t want to hold it at a big hotel. I didn’t want to hold it in the big city. I didn’t want to stress about filling seats or worry about paying for rooms that didn’t fill in our room block. I didn’t want to commit to thousands of dollars of food that I knew most of would be wasted. I didn’t want to deal with sound systems and the cost and labor involved. Basically I didn’t want to do anything the way I was ‘supposed’ to.

So I started over – and by asking myself what I REALLY wanted (and following that guidance) – I found myself with a 1-page contract with no financial commitment upfront, with no commitment to paying for empty guest rooms, in a boutique hotel in a hip town near the sea.

Was I still nervous about filling seats? Sure. Did I have lots of questions about all the things I didn’t know? Yup. Was I afraid of what I didn’t know I didn’t know? Absolutely.

But by doing it my way, and starting from where I was realistically, I’ve successfully hosted 6 small workshops and have generated anywhere from $60k to over $100k NET every time.

I’m sharing this with you so you know I’ve been there…and I have a lot of wisdom to share with you as you plan and navigate hosting your own small live event.

If you’d like to learn more and get on the early access list to my brand-new training, just CLICK HERE.

If any of this resonates with you, I’d love to hear it. Just comment below and let me know. 🙂

It’s only in the stillness…


Watching the sunrise on my recent retreat…

I have a hard time being still. Stilling my mind is even more difficult. A constant stream of thoughts runs through my mind, especially at night, unless I’m reading something really engaging (thank you, Outlander).

During the day, I’m so busy that I’m not great about settling down and just being… allowing myself to move into the stillness so I can shift from the chaos of my thoughts to clarity.

Journaling helps me immensely. And yet, sometimes I need to do something more than that.

So, twice this year I’ve traveled to the ocean for a 3-day retreat. Both times I’ve returned renewed and with absolute clarity of vision and the steps I need to implement to make that vision my reality.

I’ve ‘retreated’ at home – but it’s simply not the same. There’s too many distractions, too much pulling at me, so that I just can’t ‘be’ to unearth what wants to be heard and honored within me.

I know that taking the time away to reflect and get crystal clear on where I am right now, on what I want next (as much as what I don’t want), and then committing to that once I return home is critical to my growth – both personally and professionally – and that it leads to a lot more joy and abundance in my life and business.

Would it be easier to not go? Sure it would. After all, I have a full family life that I’m managing here outside of my business. But I also know that it is absolutely worth moving mountains to do it – both for myself and my business, as much as for my kids to witness my honoring something that’s important to me as a person, separate from being Mom.

So, what about you? Do you take time to retreat – at home, somewhere else? How often? Do you go alone or do you retreat in a supportive group?

I’d love to know ~ please comment below … 😉

Upon Arrival, Proceed to Baggage Claim

I’m loving Renée Peterson Trudeau’s new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family, and this passage in particular really resonated with me… enjoy!

Upon Arrival, Proceed to Baggage Claim
An Excerpt from Nurturing the Soul of Your Family

Relationships of all types can be challenging. In particular, family members, partners, and children often develop a sixth sense for how to push our buttons. For myself, to become less reactive, I’ve had to slowly become more self-aware, compassionate, loving toward myself, and attuned to my needs — which has made me a much more emotionally present parent and partner.

Some of the keys are to show up in our relationships with a soft and open heart, a healthy perspective, and a full cup rather than a half-empty one. Before we can do that, however, we have to examine ourselves: we have to release and heal old self-limiting beliefs by understanding what we’re holding on to and why.

We all have emotional baggage. Ever heard the phrase “the issues are in the tissues”? Our beliefs, scars, and old patterns from our family lineage, childhood, culture, education, and birth order all significantly affect our worldview and habitual ways of being. These, in turn, guide how we show up and relate to our family members.

Some days we get easily triggered. Maybe our child not putting their dirty clothes in the laundry room sends us over the edge, while other days they could break the front door and we’d just roll with it. Our state of being has the most impact on how we respond to external circumstances. Some days we receive the gift of observing when we’re stuck in an old pattern or way of seeing things, and other times we just feel stuck, or else constantly critical or judgmental, thinking of our partner or children: “If they’d just listen to me, we’d all be happier!”

When this happens, look inward to see if you have any unclaimed baggage. For instance, when my son, Jonah, was about to turn ten, he and I went through a really difficult patch. He’s a beautiful, passionate, mature, intense kid, and as he reached adolescence, his level of defiance at times overwhelmed me. A simple request to finish homework or put his dirty dishes in the sink could invoke an emotional tsunami. Since I have a tendency to be controlling, our interactions were a Molotov cocktail.

After a particularly hard stretch involving lots of crying jags (mostly mine), I called Terri, a parent educator, and asked if my husband and I could see her for a session. I was exhausted from the stressful interchanges and needed help. After I explained our situation, Terri turned to me and gently shared, “You are going through mourning — Jonah is no longer a child. He’s an adolescent.” Terri went on to highlight some of the science around early-adolescent behavior  and how best to support my son; in short, offer love and acceptance, not solutions and tips for improvement. After that illuminating session, things got much easier in our home — not yellow-brick-road happy, but the crying and yelling diminished greatly.

In part, the improvement occurred because my husband and I tweaked our language and gave Jonah more freedom, but mostly things changed because my husband and I shifted ourselves internally. We realized we were holding unrealistic, supersized fears that were causing us to be overly critical; our heads had become filled with visions of our out-of-control nine-year-old turning into a sixteen-year-old heroin addict. We were “parenting from the future” and from our own fears and wounds, rather than from the present moment, which was what our son most needed. This aha moment and shift in our awareness are what created the big shift in our family dynamic that we needed. Often we have to break down in order to break through.

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Life balance coach/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau is the author of the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family.  Thousands of women in ten countries are participating in Personal Renewal Groups based on her first book, the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. Visit her online at www.ReneeTrudeau.com


Excerpted from the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family ©2013 Renée Peterson Trudeau.  Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com