Create One Hour (or more) for YOU

I’ve talked with numerous people this week who are tired, frazzled, and just plain pooped. And guess what? I’m one of them. I had more on my plate than usual this week and I can feel it. My body feels heavy and overall just worn out. I had plans for the weekend that I’ve already cancelled because I just need some time, space, and quiet to relax, rest, and recharge. Alone.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

I know exactly what this will do for me. After slowing down and sleeping mightily, my batteries will be recharged and invigorated. Ready for what’s next. But only after I honor what my body is telling me it needs. If I don’t listen and do something about it, my body will only yell back at me more.

What do you need this weekend? Really need?

Now go honor the bright shiny soul that you are and give it to yourself.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Serenity

Some sad updates. Do you remember the friend I spoke about a few weeks ago, Laurie Foley, who had entered hospice? She transitioned to the next world March 4th. Then Custard, one of the horses I spoke about in my last newsletter who had been rescued, had to be put to sleep as well.

And then, a close friend of mine lost a beloved family member too.

All of this news within a 4 day period. Ouch.

I’ve felt heavy for a few days. Physically and energetically heavy. I’m allowing myself to feel that energy, let it sit as it needs to, knowing it will pass through.

Today I want to talk about serenity.

When you hear that word, what does it mean to you?

In Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance she says women can find serenity if they stop behaving as if they were whirling dervishes. The constant multi-tasking of for example, beginning to brush your teeth only to leave the bathroom to start making your bed before the teeth brushing is over, then to notice that something else in the next room needs straightening up, yet you still have your toothbrush in your mouth trying to finish making the bed, and mentally already moving onto the next thing before you’ve even finished the first and second. Sound familiar?  Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

How do you combat that insanity? By doing only one thing at a time. Not possible to get everything done you say. Au contraire. It is. There is a ton of research out there supporting this very thing. When you truly only work on one task at a time, your energy is focused and present. When you are focused and present you are actually able to work more efficiently and with greater ease.

I know your mind might be saying no way. That’s what our minds do. They say it can’t be done if that’s the only way it’s ever been done. I invite you to challenge your mind. Try it for a week. Do one thing at a time and find out how it works for you. Does it make things harder or easier? More simple or cluttered? More pleasurable or painful?

For me serenity means that no matter what is going on outside of me, I am calm and peaceful on the inside. We all have that place, that space, deep within where we are still. That is who we are at our core. Stillness. In that place of stillness is where our best lives come from, our best selves, our best work.

It also means honoring my personal energy. Only putting on my plate what truly feels good for me to do and deciding how much I put on that plate in any given day. And do you know what I found to be interesting? If there’s ever any push back it comes from me. My next door neighbor doesn’t care how much I do. My husband doesn’t care. My dog doesn’t care either. It’s only my mind that fights me (on occasion) about it. But my body will always tell me loud and clear when I’ve done too much. It gets very tired. And until I give it rest it doesn’t respond well to further instruction.

So if this is something you struggle with, how you can bring more serenity into your life? What needs to shift in order to make that happen?

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

 

A Call for Help

Everyone needs help at some point. Some of us are more able to ask for it than others. Some can’t ask at all. Imagine three horses. Neglected. Malnourished. Hip bones, spine, and ribs protruding, almost through the skin. No water. Left to die.

That’s what a sheriff found Monday, Leap Day, in a pasture outside of Bend, OR. Imagine that being your dog. Or your cat. Or your horse. Or any animal you love.

It’s a truly wonderful thing that the horse farm where I volunteer, Equine Outreach, gets phone calls from various sheriffs when they discover animals who are treated without regard.

The owner Joan got the call. She promptly did what needed to be done to rescue these three horses. A trailer was sent out to pick them up and bring them back to the farm. Sadly though, one of the three died on the spot. Before the trailer could arrive. Heartbreaking. Can you imagine this horse being so close to getting help but it wasn’t close enough?

Tuesday is my normal day to visit the rescue, do much needed chores, and socialize with the horses. I got to meet both Sassy and Custer (the two rescued horses from the day before). Sassy is only 3, black, and beautiful. Custer is 24, a mixture of white and beige, and beautiful too. They are both inquisitive, curious, and so appreciative of the apples I brought. Their water trough is filled to the brim and they have all the food they want and need. I wonder how long ago (if ever) they’ve experienced that. They get incredibly loving attention from each person who comes up to meet them. Their new life is going to be so much better.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

All because of one woman who saw a need in this area.

Equine Outreach was started 13 years ago by Joan Steelhammer. They take in abandoned, abused, and neglected horses. They rehabilitate those that can be, and try to rehome them with loving, caring people, and families.

As you can imagine, keeping a non-profit like this open takes some cash. If it weren’t for the grants, donations, and volunteers, the doors would have closed.

As we rolled into 2016, the lease payment on the 20 acre farm increased because of the way the loan was written. They are doing everything they can to get the word out to anyone willing to donate any amount of money to keep the gates open and not put the horses at risk.

I’m there weekly. I see the good being done. I see the incredibly gentle and loving way these horses are cared for by everyone. It is a beautiful thing when a horse becomes rehabilitated and can be put up for adoption, and can be re-homed to amazing people who can and will give them the attention and life they more than deserve.

I know you may not live anywhere near here. And giving money to a place you’ve never been or seen may hold no interest for you. But every now and then we hear about abuse and neglect and want to do something. If this is you and you’re willing, here is the link to donate. I believe you can donate any amount. Even $5.

If this isn’t you, it’s okay. I don’t give money to every cause I come across either. But if you know someone who loves horses, or even animals, and you think they might be willing, please forward this to them.

If this is you, awesome! Thank you!!! And if you know someone else who might be willing to donate, please forward this to them too.

Thank you so much for reading this to the end. I can’t wait to see Sassy and Custer when I return next week. A vet will have been there to check them out and I can bet these two horses, who are currently so very thin, will have a little more meat on their bones and a lot more love than they’ve received in a very long time.

HERE IS THAT DONATION LINK AGAIN.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Finding Gratitude

Gratitude is always a choice you make. Day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute. Second by second. Here is what I am grateful for today. I’ll start with the incredibly soft and comfortable bed I woke up in. For the sun that is shining outside my window. For the fun job I have working with great people, and serving awesome customers. For the husband who is always so kind and caring. For my healthy body that speaks to me and lets me know what it needs to function at its best. For the birds at my bird feeder so happy to be enjoying the free food. For the time I have to sit at the beautiful table my husband created, looking out on the sturdy Ponderosa Pine trees. For the time to sit here and write this for you. And that’s all in just the first couple of hours of my day. Wow- I have got it goin’ on!

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend OR

I’m a pretty practical person by nature, and can get bogged down in the details of life, but I’m also really good at looking at the bigger picture too. That bigger picture shows me all is well in my world not only because of the choices I’ve made but because of the energy I put out into the world on a daily basis. When my emotional being is filled with negativity (always because of whatever negative I’m thinking), I get ick back from the world in the form of other people’s energy and experiences that aren’t so great. When my emotional being is filled with more thoughts that feel better, I get amazing experiences and happy energy from other people coming my way.

It’s one of the universal laws of energy. The Law of Attraction. Whatever energy you vibrate out, you’re going to get that same energy vibrating back in. There is no other possibility.

When I focus on what is going well in my life and hold the expectation of things continuing to go well AND get better, my days are seamless days filled with contentment. This has been a practice for me, and it continues to grow.

Could you spend the next seven days slowing down and taking the time to really appreciate and be grateful for what is going well and right in your life? I can’t promise bliss forever, but I can promise a little contentment in the moment.

And what is life, but a string, of little moments.

Have a gratitude-filled week!

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

You really don't have time

It is becoming more clear to me all the time that we really don’t have time. You don’t have time to not do what’s most important, most fulfilling, and most affirming for your life. Look at all of the famous artists who have died in the first six weeks of 2016.

Several months ago, an REI co-worker and avid bike rider to everywhere, took a turn at a round-about too fast and crashed. He crushed vertebrae in his cervical spine leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. He made the conscious choice not to continue his life and was taken off life support. His normal functioning life vanished in an instant and he was gone within 2 days. I hardly knew him but his death affected me for weeks. I wasn’t quite sure why but time shifted for me.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

And earlier this month I found out that a life coach I’d worked with briefly in the past had chosen to enter hospice care after a 3 1/2 year battle with ovarian cancer. She gave a powerful talk at a conference of her friend, the writer, Patti Digh. It was shared on her Facebook page and I thought I’d share it with you. The link is here. Her name is Laurie Foley.

I’ve followed her progress on Facebook for those 3 1/2 years. No matter what she was feeling or going through on the inside she always came across with such grace and wisdom. She is a writer and able to convey her message so eloquently.

She had gone through various rounds of chemotherapy and I believe was in remission for a while. Unfortunately, her cancer came back with a vengeance, and incredibly quickly over the past few months. I think she realized it was going to take her life no matter what, but she is choosing how she wants the end of her life to be. Surrounding herself with the people she loves in an incredibly supportive hospice environment where she can be as comfortable as possible for her transition.

The outpouring of love for her on my Facebook feed is beyond beautiful. The lives she has touched with her work, her presence, and her willingness to be vulnerable and authentic with everyone in her life, honestly, has blown me away. This world will soon be losing a very bright soul.

One of her gifts to me is the reminder that I don’t have time. As Brene Brown has been quoted, “Midlife-When the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you “I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given.”

Do you think my co-worker had an idea the day before he crashed he would be gone in 48 hours? Do you think my coach friend Laurie had an idea that within 3 1/2 years of being diagnosed with cancer she’d be preparing to transition to the other side?

What are you doing right now? Are you present to it-completely present? Are you living your life your way?

I’m not kidding. You might think you’ve got the time. And you might. But then again, you might not.

Here is that link again.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Where is your heart being pulled?

I know. I know. Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. And guess what? I’m not even going to talk about it. But it sure is a great play on words, don’t ya think? ;) Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

One of my intentions for the new year was to follow what would nurture my heart and soul. On that list was to volunteer at a local horse farm. It’s a special place here in Bend called Equine Outreach. They takes horses who have been abandoned, neglected, or abused. A group of amazing volunteers and staff work to rehabilitate those horses that can be, then put them up for adoption for loving homes, or allow them to stay there indefinitely, comfortably living out their lives surrounded by people who want nothing more for them to be cared for with the upmost respect and love.

I started volunteering late December. I really didn’t know a thing about horses when I started. Sure I’d been on a horse a time or two when I was a kid, but nothing like I’m doing now, cleaning pens, watering the horses, and learning how to interact with 1000 pound animals. It hasn’t ben intuitive, I can assure you.

From the reading I’ve done to help me understand these incredibly beautiful animals, I’ve learned that because they are prey animals, and we as humans are predator-types, they aren’t exactly trusting right off the bat. One of them could squash me like a bug, but they don’t think quite like that. You don’t approach a horse making eye contact. That’s aggression to them. I slowly walk up and place my fist out for them to smell. Only then do I try to rub their nose, chin, or neck. Often once they’ve sniffed me, they turn and walk away. Not interested. I’m not offended. We all like what we like and don’t like what we don’t.

I just move on to the next horse and try again. Because I’ve been going weekly, I think some of the horses are getting to know me. My voice, my scent, my energy. I’m always so appreciative when one of the horses sniffs my hand then actually wants more attention. They trust me just enough to go a little farther. I like that about them. You have to earn their trust. I know I’m trustworthy and have their safety at heart, but they might not. It’s that with with people too. Or should be. People need to earn your trust.

There’s a beautiful horse named Helen at the farm. She’s blind. She’s blind because her owner beat the crap out of her, whacking her across her face with I don’t know what, and blindness was the result. Can you imagine? Honestly, I just can’t.

So of course you have to earn Helen’s trust. She can only hear you and smell you. She doesn’t know if you get close if you’re going to reach out your hand and hurt her.

Today I walked up to Helen’s pen, called her name and said hello. I stood there calmly waiting to see what she might do. And to my utter amazement, she turned and slowly walked over to me. I placed my fist out for her to smell, which she did, then she just stood there, not turning away. Ever so slowly I opened my hand and gently caressed her nose. She stayed put. I reached a little higher and rubbed more of her nose. She didn’t move. I spoke to her in a calm, relaxed voice to let her know what a beautiful girl she was and to thank her for trusting me. Eventually she’d had enough and walked away. What an incredibly generous gift she gave me. Trust.

I don’t know why several months ago my heart was being pulled toward working with animals in some capacity. I don’t know why it’s horses right now. I did not see that coming.

But every time I go I know I’m gaining something incredibly valuable. I get to help take care of animals that weren’t cared for before, and I’m learning compassion on an incredibly deep level.

Honestly (and this is a reveal here), I need to learn how to be much more compassionate towards myself, and others too. It wasn’t until more recently that I realized compassion is not my strong suit and it could use a little attention. Actually, a lot of attention.

So as I follow where my heart is being pulled, I’m finding out it’s being pulled to teach me something I really need to learn. And you know what? It feels really damn awesome.

Where is your heart being pulled?

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Letting in the Fun

This past weekend my husband and I went to a blind wine tasting party. Each couple brought a bottle of zinfandel wine and they were placed in paper bags with numbers so no one knew what exact brand of wine it was. We were given index cards in order to write down comments on each numbered wine, then we had to rank them in order of what we liked best down to the worst as we tasted. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to chat with each person as we were tasting wine and writing our comments. The look on people’s faces when they didn’t like a wine was priceless. The scrunched up noses with their tongue sticking out of their mouths. And then by comparison, the opposite look of someone who liked the wine with a raised eyebrow and a smile. Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

We were not in a group of wine connoisseurs which was a good thing because the adjectives we used to describe our wines were not what you might read on wine websites. For example, “Recognized for its intensity of color and good structure of tannin and acid, it presents nuances of gooseberries and a smoky, peppery bouquet and is often added to a blend to liven it up. Smooth on the palate this wine ages well and mellows with time.” What??? No, our descriptive words including things like, “ick”, “meh”, “yum,” and “sweet”, “hot”, “dry”, or “I don’t think so.”

My husband is not a wine drinker at all. It was hilarious to look at what he had written on his card. By each number his descriptors included wine, wine, wine, wine, on down the list. There was one wine he marked, “not as bad”. OMG- I thought I would pee in my pants I was laughing so hard at everyone’s experience and description.

The night hit its crescendo when the revealing of the wines took place. The host tallied up scores and let us know what the collective group thought the worst wine was and the best wine. We all stood there secretly hoping “our” wine, the one we brought, wasn’t on the bottom. The wine my husband and I brought came in second place. It cost $9.99. I was shocked. I hadn’t even rated it near the top.

Often I find I take some things WAY too seriously. Does this ever happen to you? We live in a world where serious things are happening, yes, but there’s no reason we (read me) have to make it all important. In the Buddhist sense, everything is important and nothing is important. You get to choose.

Going to work and paying bills may be important, but it’s no more important than getting out, having fun, doing something silly, laughing, and enjoying time with old friends and new.

So what’s on your fun list coming up soon?

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Why I Write

I’m taking a Stream of Consciousness writing class. We show up, start with a short silent meditation, then our instructor gives us a writing prompt of a few words and we all sit and write furiously for 10 minutes. Pen to paper. Never stopping. Not worrying about structure or grammar. We just write. And I love it. My brain takes me on such a fun ride. I never know what it’s going to pop out next, but I just write it down and sit amazed at what shows up.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

This got me to pondering, why do I blog? Why do I sit down every week, come up with a topic and spend the time to write it, edit it, and send it out to the world? What is it I’m hoping to accomplish? What it is I want to share? What do I get out of it? Why am I really doing it?

Part of the reason is because I really love to read other’s blogs and newsletters. I’m a lifelong learner and a meaning maker. I so enjoy delving into a good piece of writing that helps me make sense of my own world. Especially if that piece give me a new and fresh look at a topic I either know well or don’t know much about. As much as they say it’s all been said before or all been done before, that doesn’t mean I’ve heard it or seen it. It may be new to me.

Like just the other day someone told me about a website that I didn’t even know existed. How cool that other people have known about something for a few years, or forever, but I had zero clue about it. That’s exciting to me.

I write to learn. To understand. To make meaning of my own life. Often I share it because it’s just fun. It’s important that we connect with each other and share common themes, struggles, problems, and the good stuff in life. It’s that shared meaning where we connect and feel like we are uplifting and inspiring to others as well as being inspired by others. It’s truly a community where we’re there for each other.

Maybe the bottom line to why I write is that I’m drawn to doing it. It gives me something I can’t put into words or even put my finger on. It’s kind of a mystery really. I like that. I like that not everything in life can be figured out. Maybe it’s just me creating something that no one else can create in the exact same way but me. And isn’t that enough reason to do anything?

What do you do just because?

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Sticking with it when "it" gets hard

When you deal with something in your life on a regular basis (like daily), and it’s not something you’re particularly fond about, it gets icky. I’m now 8 months into physical therapy to realign what got outta whack in my body back in 2012 when I was training for a marathon.

Eight. Months.  Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

I really, honestly, truly thought that if I went to each weekly appointment and faithfully did every home exercise to lengthen what needed to be stretched and strengthen what had become weak, that I would be perfectly (more than perfectly) realigned in 8 months time. But oh my was I dead wrong.

Has it been hard to do the exercises? No. Time consuming? Yes. Frustrating as hell when it seemed like things were getting better in some areas, feeling worse in others, and other problems cropped up I’d never had before. I mean, how long and hard do I have to work to get to a place of bodily balance and pain free-ness?

The short answer. Longer than I could have possibly imagined.

I can’t tell you how many times I thought, “Am I really getting anywhere?”, “Is this as good as it is ever going to get?”, “Should I just stop going to physical therapy?” I had those days when I just thought I should give up. I wasn’t sure if I could get to a place where things felt great most of the time not mostly good some of the time.

But something in me has known since I started this whole process that I could get where I wanted to be. Where my body felt balanced and pain free as the norm and not the exception. So even on the days when I was ready to throw in the towel I knew it was just a bad day. A day where I was frustrated and wishing things felt better and not understanding why after all this time and effort I wasn’t there yet.

And then… I went for a run.

I run regularly, but not pain free.

Except this time I ran, and the things that usually hurt didn’t hurt. At. All.

I kept on running, the whole time thinking it was a fluke. My left hip, which always bothers me when I run, wasn’t. I actually kept waiting for it to start hurting. Every step, every minute, every mile. “It’s going to kick in”, I thought. It always does. But it didn’t.

I had no idea that day would be the day that would show me that all of those hours of stretching and strengthening and focusing on changing my walking and running gait pattern, believing in my body, and my physical therapist, would pay off. I did not see it coming at all.

and I’m so grateful. So so grateful.

I’ve always appreciated a healthy and balanced body. I’ve never taken it for granted.

Which is why if I had thrown in the towel 2 months ago, or said, “I’m done” 2 weeks ago, I might not ever have gotten to this place. I don’t know. That’s the thing about unknown outcomes, no matter what you’re working toward. Whether it be a job promotion, to get better at playing an instrument, to quit your job, take a leap of faith and start a business. You have no idea all that will be involved or how long it will take to get to what you want. You never do.

But if you really do want something bad enough you’ll keep reaching until you get there.

Is there a time to give up? Absolutely. But that answer has to come from deep within you and can’t be made when you’re having an “off/frustrated with it all” kind of day.

Am I done with having painful running days? Maybe, maybe not. But I’m so very glad I’ve made it this far.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Softening Around the Edges

We have lived in a masculine world for many centuries. It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when feminine energy was the stronger force on the planet. We live in a time where slowly, ever so slowly, the pendulum is shifting in a feminine direction. Masculine (yang) energy includes traits like drive, independence, aggression, directness, logic, arrogance, competitiveness, less emotion, reactivity, and confidence.

Feminine (yin) energy includes traits like empathy, expression, honesty, sensitivity, love, kindness, relaxing, and nurturing.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

We possess both feminine and masculine traits, regardless of gender, and most of us tend to be more of one than the other. Both parts need to be expressed to live a balanced life.

We don’t want the pendulum to swing too far towards the feminine because then we’ll be out of balance again. What I love about women taking a stand more and more for what they believe in and being heard is that their words and actions come from a place of clarity, caring, awareness, and mindfulness. They are not rushing in to make drastic quick changes that masculine energy would do. No, they are slowly, patiently pushing for the changes that will bring more unity, peace, and prosperity to a world that is desperately in need of all of the above.

I too was raised in a world, a family, that felt more masculine than feminine. I have spent (and continue to spend) time looking at ways I show up in my life for myself and other people. Am I balancing those two vital parts of myself? I think I still often lean towards the masculine. It has been ingrained in me from an early age. But as my own life experience has shown me time and time again, that masculine push and drive places me in a place of familiarity (my go to) because I’m so used to it, but at the same time it feels uncomfortable, like I’m trying to be someone I’m not. My husband and I have been working on an issue in our marriage. All relationships have issues (no?). But it wasn’t until I stepped back and noticed how masculine I was acting that I realized we weren’t going to get anywhere in moving toward the same direction together. I needed to soften around my edges and notice what feminine qualities of mine needed to come into play. Already there is a sense of relief and relaxation in allowing that part of me to just be there. I had to soften. My edges were too sharp, cutting, and painful. I think for both he and I.

Are you more yin or yang? What qualities do you need to bring in and which ones do you need to decrease?

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Every Woman Should...

I lost my mother to colon cancer almost 9 years ago. I think of her every now and then at various times for various reasons. I thought of her this morning. When I was in college over 20 years ago, she gave me two framed posters that hung on my dorm room wall. They aren’t hung anywhere in my house today but I love and appreciate them so much I keep them and pull them out to read them every now and then.

I pulled one out today and I’m going to share it with you. Maybe you (or someone else) needs this.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

Every Woman Should…

know how to use a stick shift; a plunger; understand the difference between don’t tell a soul and don’t tell a soul I mean it; know her mind; change it; have protection handy; but not too handy; use special china; and special underwear for no special reason; over commit; come through; refuse to do it again; do it again; be able to discuss first and ten; have better things to do; set boundaries; go camping; grow something; dance crazy all alone; stare at a phone; get dressed in five minutes; be a princess; get over it; believe in the perfect man; get over it; read; walk; flirt; shock; listen; sing; thank God; be single and like it; a lot; raise a child; or not; see a wrinkle and be reminded of her youth; not her age.

Thanks Mom! You taught me so much.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

And A New Year has Arrived

The week between Christmas and the new year I often ponder what has taken place in my life over the past 12 months. I’m always grateful because I can see the growth I’ve made in certain areas. And I also notice the growth I haven’t made. Ouch! It’s so easy to harp on those areas that still need work. At least from the perspective of my own little ego-oriented mind. I could easily mentally trash myself for all of this but I’m not going to. Honestly, sometimes being hard on myself gets really old. Do you know that feeling too?

I also am not going to go all PollyAnna either. Yes, there is good to see in everything (even the shitty things that happen) but it’s okay if I don’t want to see the sparkling bright shiny rainbow all the time. Because sometimes I’d rather poke my eye out than see it.

I’ve been reading Sarah Bran Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. I adore what she says about New Year’s aspirations (if you have them). “Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t achieved them. It’s the reaching for them that’s important.” Ohhhhh-do I love that. Just the fact that I reached and stretched and tried to work towards my goals or intentions is enough.

Fresh beginnings and starts are essential for us as humans. Although we can do it at any time we choose, January of a new year can be a lovely way to just begin reaching toward your goals, aspirations, or intentions. This year though, I’ve decided to approach the whole goal-setting thing from a different angle. My gauge for whether I’m growing and moving in the direction I’d like is if what I’m doing has deep meaning for me. Basically, what am I doing to nurture my life? If I gauge progress in my life by what feels fulfilling, important, meaningful, and nurturing, then I will know I’m on the right track.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

So what’s on tap in the nurturing department?

1-I'm going to write more. I’m actually starting my very-first-ever writing class next week. I’ve been thinking of writing a book. What the heck it will be about I have no clue but that’s okay. I’ll let life inform me as I go as to what that might be and when. I’m also going back to writing this newsletter weekly. I had done that for almost three years previously and really needed a break (which I took). Now I’m ready to commit to that again because I think it will help me become a better writer. Well, I hope so. ;)

2-I'm also pursuing a slowly evolving interest in working with animals. It started a few months ago and came out of nowhere. I found an equine outreach farm that takes in neglected, abused, and abandoned horses. These amazing creatures that are rescued get to live their lives being comforted, loved, and re-homed if the right place is found. I volunteer there once a week. And In the spring I’m taking a series of equine facilitated learning classes to help me better communicate with myself, with others, and the world. Horses are spiritual beings and are the perfect mirror to show you how you show up in your life, and to the world, both energetically and emotionally.

3-I'm deepening my spirituality practice as well. I’ve always felt connected to the universe in fascinating ways (we all are) but I sense and know that that connection must deepen for me to grow even more.

What do I know to be true right now?

To continually evolve and grow as a person I need to nurture my life force. To move towards what feels meaningful for me. If a direction calls to me it needs to be pursued out of curiosity to see where it leads. Those interests are there to show me something. To take me to the next step. To help me in some way. I can’t live someone else’s life, only mine, so I might as well follow what has meaning and feels nurturing. Even if just for the pursuit itself, regardless of the outcome.

How are you going to nurture your life in 2016?

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

BIG MAGIC with Author Elizabeth Gilbert

I had the absolute privilege to see Author Elizabeth Gilbert a few weeks ago here in Bend. Back when I was separated from my first husband I read her book Eat Pray Love (about her world traveling journey of discovery and finding herself after divorce). Her writing style and ability to communicate with me on such a personal level, like I could just call her up for coffee and hang out at any moment, made her my favorite writer.

Her new book BIG MAGIC came out in September and I promptly devoured it (twice) in less than three weeks. That woman has some amazing inspirational power with me. So of course, when I found out she was going to come speak in my town, the day tickets went on sale, I was up at 7am buying one.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening of her talk I was so nervous I was like a giddy school girl about to see her crush for the first time in the same room. Butterflies in my stomach, sweat beading under my arms. Crazy really. And yes I loved her talk as well as the answers she gave to the audience member questions. She was funny, charming, and thoughtful.

But let me tell you about her book. It’s all about creativity and how we as humans are creative beings, period. It doesn’t matter what you create, how you create it, or if you ever sell what you create, you are creative. As a woman who grew up in a family who really never thought any of us was creative, I didn’t think I was either. I have no doubt that I am now. And my family is too.

I walked away from reading her book and hearing her talk with renewed inspiration for my own creativity and permission for it to look like anything and nothing at all. I learned that we create for the love of creating. Not for the final outcome or product. Not for whether or not it sells. And not for what anyone else thinks about it. It just doesn’t freaking matter. The only thing that matters is that if you want to create, you must. Your soul depends on it. You’re very being hinges on having that connection with that idea and connection with the universe.

I have so many underlines and tabs in her book my husband suggested I might as well have just highlighted the entire thing. I’m sharing just a few of her quotes from the book because they resonated so deeply.

The first page of the book she asks the question, What is creativity? And she answers, The relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration. That is what her book is about. Your relationship to your creativity through courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and divinity. She shares stories, and anecdotes, and thoughtful truths from her own experience as well as the thousands of people who have shared their stories with her.

“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures. You can believe that you are neither a slave to inspiration or its master, but something far more interesting—its partner—and that the two of you are working together toward something intriguing and worthwhile. You can live a long life, making and doing really cool things the entire time. You might earn a living with your pursuits or you might not, but you can recognize that this is not really the point. And at the end of your days, you can thank creativity for having blessed you with a charmed, interesting, passionate existence.”

“Because in the end, creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience.”

“You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.”

“Are you considering becoming a creative person? Too late, you already are one. To even call somebody “a creative person” is almost laughably redundant; creativity is the hallmark of our species. If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.”

“What would you do if you knew that you might very well fail? What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant?”

“Anyhow— what else are you going to do with your time here on earth—not make things? Not do interesting stuff? Not follow your love and your curiosity?”

And possibly my most favorite sentence in her book, “What you produce is not necessarily always sacred, what is sacred is the time you spend working on the project, and what that time does to expand your imagination, and what that expanded imagination does to transform your life.”

A young boy of maybe 10 asked Elizabeth an intense question about drive and passion and being relentless in his pursuit of being a poet. If you could have heard the ferocity in his voice you wouldn’t have believed it was coming from this tiny young man. But her response was perfect. She said yes, having that drive, passion, and relentlessness would be helpful. And she really didn’t think he would have a problem with that. But, she said, please please make sure you are becoming a poet because you love it, not because of what others will think of your work, and whether you make it to the top. Because if that’s the only reason you’re doing it, you will be miserable. Your self worth will depend upon other people and you do not ever want your self worth to depend upon anyone’s opinion of your work. Do it because you love it. Period. That is the reward.

What do I know to be true right now?

Elizabeth Gilbert is such a fierce force for what is good and right in the world. I am so fortunate to have found her as a mentor. Even if I never meet her in person, she will continue to help guide me through her words.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

The Magical Sound of Silence

On of the most magical experiences to have living on this planet is the one of listening to snow falling from the sky. It’s completely silent. And beautiful. And peaceful. And inspiring. And calm. Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

I love it when life feels calm. You?

I get that life can’t always be or feel calm. You’ve got to experience the craziness of it to appreciate the calm when it comes. But I know we all do really appreciate it when it does arrive.

We’ve just entered the “crazy”, “frantic” time of year where there may be more noise than normal, and more hustle, and more to-do. Which is why I believe it’s so important to find ways to bring silence into your routine. Where can pause and just breathe, allowing your mind to stop its incessant thinking just for 30 seconds? Where can you take some time to get away from everyone and everything where there is no talking and no movement? It’s imperative. For your health, your sanity, and your soul.

Let this be the year you consciously bring silence into December. No one else will do it for you. They can’t do it for you. But you can. You must.

What do I know to be true right now?

It’s the silence that allows the space for all the noise. Without it, the noise becomes overwhelming, and we really don’t need more overwhelm than we’ve already got.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

All Peace Starts with You

There is so much negativity, tragedy, and death in our world today. Paris is just the most recent example. And so many opinions about the cause of it all and what to do about it. I can tell you, I have no answers for those really hard questions. But I do know what I can do on my end to be a part of a shift in the world. “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” ~ The Dalai Lama

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

The world is a reflection of how peaceful we each are on the inside as individuals. Always. Look at what’s happening in your own life. Is there a lot of chaos? Turmoil? Problems at work? Problems in your relationships? Then you have a lot of chaos happening inside your mind. You are not at peace.

That is my work. Your work. Our work collectively. I honestly believe that anyone who hurts another does so because they are not at peace within themselves. Because if you are truly peaceful within you have no reason in the whole wide world to lash out. None.

Until you recognize that you are already whole and peace at your core, what you see in the world, in your own life, will continue. You are responsible for taking control of and living your life from a place of wholeness. If you realize you are not at peace within yourself, please, please, please, whatever you do, do not beat yourself up and shame yourself for it. Nor blame anyone else. Finding and creating peace is your job. No one can do it for you.

If you need help finding it, please seek that out through a therapist, a coach, a friend, a mentor, whoever you need to help you. But please do it. The health of our planet and every person, animal, and tree deserve you taking responsibility for your own life and living from that place of wholeness. You need it and the world depends on it. I can promise you it’s already there. It’s underneath all of your protective layers that you think are keeping you safe, but are really just smothering you. Peace is who you are when everything else is stripped away. It’s the peace connected to the entire universe. Be the peace you already are and you will see it reflected back to you in your life, and the world, a million fold.

As Ghandi said,” you must be the change you wish to see in the world”.

I honestly have no answer as to how to stop terrorism on this planet other than to find peace within myself, and do anything I can to help someone see their wholeness and find peace within themselves. Then we will be on the true path to a peaceful world.

And I believe, if you choose, you can do this too.

That is what I know to be true right now.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

What I learned backpacking for 10 days

If you read my post from two weeks ago you know I recently backpacked for 10 days here in Central Oregon. If you missed it and want to catch it, here it is. I’m still reflecting on my time spent on the trail both alone and with my friend. In some ways it seems surreal that I was even out there. I came home and jumped back into normal everyday life.

I thought I’d share the things that did pop up for me while I was out there. Some of it may even be practical for every day non-backpacking life.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life coach, Bend, OR

1- Training makes all the difference- I did prepare my body for about 6 weeks before the trip. I slowly worked up to 14 miles with a 28 pound-plus pack on my back. My body felt great the whole time, unless you count the end of some days when I was just tired in general. Overall, I was physically ready. I’m sure I could have done it without the training but I’m not sure how my body would have liked it. Take Home- If you prepare, you an do almost anything.

2- Saving cell phone battery- While I was out there, I sometimes had cell service and sometimes didn’t. And I never knew when I would or wouldn’t. The most helpful thing was to put my phone on airplane mode when I didn’t need it. That saved my battery, which made my phone last waaaaaay longer. So much easier to take pictures when you have battery. Take Home- Do you really need to be available 24-7? You can turn off that phone anytime and messages can come through when you’re ready for them.

3-I learned to read maps better- If you read a few posts ago, you know how stellar I am at reading maps. NOT. The map has all sorts of trails, creeks, and lakes, but it also has little topographic lines that when closer together mean it’s going to be steep. It took me quite a while to understand how that all worked. I will say most of the time I didn’t look at that part because I didn’t want to know if I had a hard climb coming up ahead of me. Better for my brain to not know ahead of time. Take Home- Find out what you need to know, let the rest be a fun mystery.

4- Having more than one source of place is really helpful- I did have a real honest-to-goodness paper map, but I also had an app on my phone that had GPS and could show me where I actually was on the map in real time. I could keep my phone on airplane mode then take it off to briefly check where I was before turning it back on again. That saved me a couple of times. I would think I was one place and found out I was either behind where I thought I was or ahead. It gave me comfort to know I hadn’t missed a trail junction or that I was almost upon one. Take Home- It’s not often we are ever totally lost and don’t know where we are. But there’s nothing wrong with stopping to find out if you think you might be. The peace of mind you gain is worth it.

5- Food as fuel gained a whole new meaning- In this country we have access to refrigerators and cabinets filled with food (as well a grocery stores down the road) anytime we want. I had to carry all my food with me. Trying to figure out exactly how much you need is quite a task. The practice backpacking helped but after several days out there I noticed a general increase in my overall hunger. I really did need to eat something every couple of hours to keep up my energy. There is no way to really configure how many calories you’re burning hiking uphill with 30 pounds on your back. You just know you are burning a lot. My friend started calling my droopy drawers on the trail because I’d lost a little weight and I kept having to pull up my hiking pants. I was most definitely eating to live and not the other way around. I finished with two small snack bags of food left. I did have enough and I wasn’t hungry at the end, but what was leftover wasn’t much. Take Home- We all know that we eat more than we really need. We have a lot of wonderful and amazing food that is both healthy and not so healthy. Eating only when you’re body is truly hungry (not when your mind thinks it’s hungry) is a huge shift.

6- It’s okay to bring more toilet paper- Let’s just say I used my last square of toilet paper on my very last day. It’s incredibly lightweight and one of those items that if you have some left over at the end, it’s not a problem in the least. Take Home- I think you get it. ;)

7- Deodorant is completely under-rated- I’ve gone for a short time without deodorant. Like maybe just over 24 hours. It’s extra weight to carry. Not a lot, but still, those not a lots add up. But here’s the thing. When after a certain amount of time you can’t stand your own body odor (even if you’re alone) that’s a sign. I went 6 days without using deodorant. That was 5 days too many. I would never have realized this if I hadn’t experienced it. Now I know. Honestly, I don’t know what people did before deodorant. I’m convinced that if deodorant hadn’t been invented, the population of the world today would be about 20 people tops. Good God, I wouldn’t have pro-created with myself much less someone else. Take Home- Thank GOD someone invented deodorant.

8- Some needs are needs and some wants are needs- Every backpacker will tell you there are some things you just need. Like rain gear, a water filter, dry socks. And then there are the things that you’ve found you don’t really truly NEED but want them bad enough (like deodorant for me). You know that a want is a need when you are willing to carry the weight of it on your back. I took a little journal. I didn’t write all that much but it was worth having it for when I did write. Take Home- We all know shelter, food, water, and oxygen are basic needs. But we each have certain needs that are very personal and help make our lives that much better. Make sure you surround yourself with those things.

9- Flexibility is super important- I was supposed to hike 101 miles with my friend on the AT. I had it in my head that when I headed out to hike here I needed to do that number. And I was already in the low 60’s by the time day 6 finished. But then something happened. I realized that my goal of getting those miles in was trumping my goal of enjoying my backpacking trip. Plus, a lot of those miles were miles that needed to be hiked in the upward direction. Let me tell you that a 6 mile uphill day can be WAY harder than an 11 mile flatfish day. Plus I started to get a little more fatigued. Which is why I did my best to not pack in the miles at the end.                      Take Home- There’s that saying that the only constant is change. And it’s not only unexpected change that comes along. You can be the one to make the change anytime. And not feel bad about it.

10- I gained tremendous confidence- When my plans abruptly changed and I was not going to be hiking with my friend who had our entire trip mapped out because of her past experience, I was put in the driver seat of my own experience. I was the one who had to decide where to go. I was the one who had to decide how many miles to hike on a given day. I was the one making all those decisions for a new, quickly created adventure. For some reason I never wavered. I just knew I was going to do it and that was that. For whatever reason fear didn’t even enter the picture. Doubt never entered the picture either. I just knew I could do it. Maybe because all that preparation and planning got me to that mental space. Take Home- It’s truly amazing what you can do when you put your mind to something. I look back on my life and realize I have done A LOT. I bet you have too. Who knows what I’ll do next with my increased confidence. That remains to be seen.

What do I know to be true right now?

When they say, “there is nothing to fear but fear itself”, it’s dead on. We (our minds specifically) are the only thing that stops us.

So if you want to go try something new and different, why not I say?

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

A BOLD Move in the Retail World

Today’s post was supposed to be about what I learned backpacking for 10 days. It will have to wait until next time because something important happened this week that I think is more worthy of sharing. As you know, I work part-time at the outdoor outfitting store (and largest co-op in the country), REI. The six values REI holds sacred are authenticity, service, quality, respect, integrity, and balance. The company works very hard to ensure these values are upheld in everything they do, from the way in which they support their employees, the way they do business with their customers, and the way they support the environment with each individual store contributing money and volunteers to help people get outside and enjoy a richer life.

So if you haven’t heard yet (but I’m pretty sure you have), this past Monday Jerry Stritzke, the President and CEO of REI, announced to both his employees and the world that REI would be closed on Black Friday, AND would be paying all of their employees, AND is inviting co-op members, employees, and anyone else interested to #optoutside for that day instead of slogging it out at the stores or spending hours online shopping.

BRA-VO Jerry!

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

Not only that, they’ve set up a website, optoutside.rei.com, for people to go and share what they’ll be doing outside with their friends and family the day after Thanksgiving. I call it Thanksgiving 2. Giving thanks to mother nature for all that she does for us. Without her, we would not be here at all.

Think about the for a moment. Black Friday is one of the largest money-making days of the year for retail stores. My company, has decided that it’s okay if they don’t bring in millions of dollars that day (MILLIONS). AND with zero coming in they are going to give out a day of pay to over 12,000 employees. That’s not a small chunk of change. We can all shop 24/7/365. But REI is saying not at our store. You have one day you can’t. And please, for the love of the outdoors, go out and be a part of it.

It’s a bold risk for sure. But isn’t it about time that someone in the retail world stood up and said money doesn’t have to be our only indicator of success. Maybe part of that success is taking care of your people who are the ones that have made your company so successful. And allowing for balance at the start of the crazed holiday season. And inviting everyone who can and is willing, to go outside and be, and play, and breathe, and enjoy.

There’s a reason the bottom of every page on my website, and every blog and newsletter I write says, Get Outside and Nurture Your Life. And REI’s motto is a Life Outdoors is a Life Well Lived.

Please tell me, do your best memories come from that time you went to Macy's and bought that amazing sweater? Do you remember the perfumed aisles and the awesome lighting in the dressing room? Or do you remember that time you camped out on that gorgeous lake with water so still you could see the exact reflection of the trees in it? The birds that sang to you in the morning as the sun came up, rippling the clouds in the sky with pinks, oranges, and purples so breathtaking that you just didn’t have words to describe it. I somehow believe (and really hope) that those are the memories you hold important.

This is not only a call from one retail store to stop the madness for one day, I see it as a call to start a Get Outside Revolution. Tell me who doesn’t come back from time spent in nature on the beach, in the mountains, on the water, refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated?

What do I know to be true right now?

Nature IS one of the main paths to our whole and peaceful selves. It not only connects us to something bigger than ourselves, but I believe that something bigger than ourselves is part of our DNA. We are not separate from the whole, the whole is part of us.

So don’t even wait for Black Friday, get outside and make it part of your weekly if not daily routine. You will never waste a second of your life if it is spent outside taking in everything natures’ got to offer. She will give to you exactly what you need if you let her. But you must spend time with her to receive her gifts.

There’s a reason REI is one of the top 100 companies to work for as rated by Fortune Magazine. Today I am one proud #REIemployee. If you's like to be a part, here's that link again, optoutside.rei.com.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

A different kind of adventure

There’s that Woody Allen quote that goes “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans”. And yes, I did have plans. Pretty big ones. Like to hike 100 miles of the AT with my good friend. And then I got a call. Less than 24 hours before my flight left, my friend called to say she had flown to be with her father as he was at the end of his life. And boom, just like that, all those plans vanished.

I of course completely understood and supported her in being with him. The timing of it was really quite wonderful. At least we weren’t in the middle of the trail when the call came. THAT would have been much worse.

But of course I was in shock and denial for a bit. All that planning and preparation, all those hours and miles hiking with a pack, ALL that backpacking food I had organized. I was deeply sad for my friend and deeply disappointed about the loss of our trip. I liken it to training for a marathon. You’ve spent so much time getting ready for the big day, then the morning of, you wake up with the stomach flu, vomiting out one end and diarrhea out the other. I sat with that disappointment for several hours. I felt it. Just like I tell my friends and clients. You have to feel what you’re going through. Not push it away. It must get it’s due.

But I had other options. My husband said, “the weather is supposed to be gorgeous here and we have a trillion trails you haven’t been on. You can still go”. Well of course I could.

So I spent the day I would have been flying back east coming up with a plan that would allow me to backpack for 10 days, with stops at my car to resupply as needed, and taking one night at home to shower and sleep in my bed.

And that’s what I did. I spent two nights out on my own, then a fabulous friend joined me. We had amazing weather with only a couple of chilly nights where hats and gloves were needed. We hiked on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) as well as several trails that would weave in and out of it. We stayed at a different lake every night. We had amazing views of lava, and glaciers, and rainforest, and burnt forest, creeks and waterfalls, and bouts of strong wind. We saw some very cool frogs and interesting mushrooms and fungi. We only had to hike a short distance and the terrain would constantly change.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

Other than a few sprinkles one day we never had rain. And as luck would have it, the one night we got off the trail it rained hard in the mountains with snow falling at the higher elevations. We missed the experience of being soggy.

When you’re out there you have a limited focus. Getting from point A to point B, making sure you eat enough food, finding water to filter and drink, and not getting lost. You don’t think about the war on terror, the drought, or whose running for president. It’s you, the trail, and everything you have on your back.

I could have easily scrubbed the whole thing and decided not to do anything, but that just didn’t seem like a good option. I would have let myself down. Instead I thought about my friend every day. I tried to honor the time we would have spent together.

In the end, I was laughing. Those initial plans got thwarted but I came up with plan B.

What do I know to be true right now?

Not all of our plans work out the way we’d like. That doesn’t mean there’s a problem. In fact I think the universe orchestrates everything beautifully and perfectly, even if we can’t see it or understand why. My friend needed to be with her dad and I needed to be here. I don’t know why and it doesn’t even matter.

We’re making a plan to hike the AT in the spring. Let’s see if the universe allows that one to go through. ;)

Next week I’ll share what I learned backpacking for 10 days. Maybe some of the things that surprised me will surprise you too.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Saying YES to adventure

Happy Fall everyone! I hope wherever you live you are either enjoying cooler temperatures, the changing color of the leaves, or both. About 3 months ago, a good friend of mine asked if I wanted to hike part of the Appalachian Trail (AT) with her this October. As my brain often does with a new idea, the roadblocks popped up. I can’t do that. I can’t get that time off from work. I can’t leave my husband. That would be so unfair of me to leave on a really fun trip and he’d be stuck at home.

But you know what, the idea actually intrigued me. I did want to go. I talked with my husband about it and he said point blank, if the shoe were on the other foot (his foot), I’d totally go. Well, why the hell not I decided.

So for the past 6 weeks I have been preparing, planning, and practicing (the three P’s) for a 101 mile journey that will last 10 days. Starting midway through MA we’ll hike south through CT, and end up in northern NY. Part of my 3 P’s has been putting a 24-28 pound pack on my back, slowly working up to 14 miles per day hiking, figuring out what items truly are essential to carry (because that pack gets heavy let me tell you), and figuring out how much food I really need. When I said yes to this adventure, I took it seriously. I wanted to be as prepared for this trip, physically, mentally, and emotionally as I could.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

My husband has a hip injury right now and can’t go out with me on the longer hikes. I decided a few weeks ago to go on an overnight with a friend but she couldn’t make it either. The very next idea that popped into my head was, I’ll go by myself. I’ve NEVER solo-backpacked anywhere overnight. My mind said, if Sheryl Strayed can hike the PCT solo for 3 months, I can swing one whole night.

So I set out on my first adventure alone. One 24 hour period, just me (and my pack). Now there’s something you’ve got to know about me that’s super important. I’m not very good with maps. Take that in for a moment. Me, heading out for a solo outing, I’m not so hot at reading maps, and I’m going to hike about 20 miles roundtrip to a campsite that isn't on the map, that I’m just going to create when I get there. Let me just say, my husband was a teeny bit worried. I secretly think he was more worried than he let on, but…

Let me say this about being on a trail on your own. EVERY sound in the forest is magnified by 20. Every branch breaking, bird chirping, squirrel running from tree to tree, is quite obvious to your ears. I wasn’t scared really. No scared isn’t the right word. Highly alert is what I was. More aware than usual for sure.

I followed my map like a hawk. Every time I got to a trail junction, a creek, or a lake, I whipped it out just to make sure I knew where I was at all times. I made great time and asked the universe for the perfect campsite by the lake. It delivered.

Lest you think I have some big lead up here to a crazy mishap, I don’t. That would certainly make a great story though. Everything went great. I had no problems setting up and breaking down my tent, cooking, all the things you do when you’re backpacking alone and don’t have someone with which to share those duties.

What I learned was that I could do it. I gained confidence. I gained courage. I gained independence. I gained gratitude.

I know I’m not the only woman to do this but I’ve done it. I think I might be more amazed than proud. Amazed at what my body can do when properly prepared. Amazed at how quiet the world is when you take out man made sounds. Amazed at the awesome lightweight gear technology allows when taking everything you need to survive out in the woods. Amazed that if I really pay attention to the map, I do know where I am.

And you know what? I had such a good time I did it again the next weekend!

On Sunday October 4th I fly east to meet my friend and begin our AT adventure. I’m excited. She’s super fun. I’m a little nervous, but not sure about what. If you’ve been reading my newsletter you know I’ve been in physical therapy since May to help with an out of balance body that has caused neck, shoulder, hip, and foot pain for the last few years. I’m still going but less frequently. I’m happy to report my body is 95% better. I’m fully grateful for my physical Therapist and to myself for putting in the time to do a gazillion home exercises to get me back to a body that feels so good now. So maybe I’m just a tad nervous my body will have problems out there. It might. But I’m armed with tools to help.

So what do I know to be true right now?

Planning, preparing, and practice (those 3 P’s) are what have enabled me to confidently say yes to this adventure. I’m not just winging it like Bill Bryson’s sidekick Katz in his book, A Walk in the Woods. I wouldn't have the confidence and might not even have as much fun.

I had to let my mind have its say ay the beginning when it wasn’t sure of the whole idea, but then I listened to what I really wanted to do, and that was to say yes, go, and do it.

I’ll get back to you in a few weeks and let you know how it all went. If you could send some sunny sky vibes east I’d sure appreciate it.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

What is True for You Right Now?

I’ve not written to you for two months now. Part of me doesn’t want to continue writing because I have SO SO SO enjoyed the increased free time and not having the self-made commitment of writing weekly. And then there’s this other part of me that really wants to return to writing again. There’s actually a deeper part of me that does yearn to be “a writer”, and I have missed it. Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

I do struggle with where to take the Nurture Your Life Newsletter next. Maybe (hopefully) me sharing my own journey in this wild ride of a life we all live will inspire or help you on your own.

I’ve always loved Oprah’s ending to her magazine each month where she writes “What I Know for Sure”. It’s the place I feel she gets the most real in her magazine about life. There’s depth there.

I think I’ll add an end to this newsletter called, “What I Know to be True Right Now”. Because you can only really ever know what you know right now in this moment. Every choice you’ve made and everything thing that has happened to you up to this point informs who you are now and how you view life. And as life continues on and you gain even greater wisdom because you live your life with awareness and presence (which of course you do because you wouldn’t be reading this type of newsletter if you weren’t), what is true for you might change.

So I’m going to ramble a bit since it feels so right. I’ve been part of the self-help community for a looooooooong time. If you’ve read this newsletter for any length of time, you know personal growth is one of the top priorities in my life. I really do enjoy learning and growing and becoming a newer version of myself all the time.

Which is why taking two months away from goal attaining/striving/trying to get to the next thing has been HUGE for me. Never in my life have I stopped working towards a goal. Never. Always a degree to earn, always a job to get better at, always a business to build, always something.

So for me to spend two entire months not working toward something would have seemed like total failure in the past. Who I am if I’m not doing something that someone (who that might be I’m not sure) might think was worthwhile and not wasting my time?

I met that someone in person and she happened to be my very own mind. My own inner Creuella-De-Vil, who told me that just focusing on realigning my body through Physical Therapy, working my job at REI, and enjoying what happened to show up in my life was NOT ENOUGH. I told her to sit down and shut up. I told her I had had enough of her. That life was meant to be enjoyed and not everything I did had to be about attaining some goal and proving my worth to myself. That was the key. It wasn’t about proving my worth to others, but proving it to myself. Really BIG pondering thought there.

It wasn’t until I stepped away did I see how hard I’ve been working. Mostly mentally. Trying to get somewhere with something. I wish I could describe to you the freedom I’ve felt by letting go of my own need to work toward a goal all the time. There are just no words for the peaceful relaxed, open, contented, and restful place I’m in.

Do I wished I’d stepped into this space of letting go of Cruella a bit earlier. No, not really. You see I wouldn’t have been ready four years ago, not even four months ago to do it. Because that isn’t where I was on my personal growth journey.

I often hear you’re never ready for changes in your life but I actually have found that hasn’t been the case for me at all. I’ve made changes when I decided because I was ready. There’s something to be said about stepping up and shifting your life when you just KNOW it’s time. And I know for me that when I want to shift something, I do it. And there’s no fear involved. I hear from many self-help gurus that in order for something to be worthwhile to change there has to be fear. And I think that isn’t true for everyone or all the time. Fear doesn’t have to be part of the equation at all.

So I still don’t know where I’m headed with the Nurture Your Life Newsletter. I do know I don’t plan to write it weekly like I’ve done in the past. Let’s just say I’ll write once a month for sure, and if I’m feeling inspired, I’ll write more often. You’ll just have to check your email every Saturday to see if I’m there or not.

So what do I know to be true right now?

That no one can really tell you how to find what is true for you. Yes, you might read something in self-help that fits, or follow a part of a path someone else has taken, but if something is really true for you right now you will have a deep knowing and sense of peace about it. No question. Of course that’s how I know for me, it might be different for you. That’s for you to discover. If you really want to know (and you don't know now) you keep searching. That’s what I’ve done.

And when they (the spiritual self-help gurus) say, the answers really are inside of you, they really, truly, deeply are.

Until next time…keep searching.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you'd like. 

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life