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Elizabeth Barbour, M. Ed.
The Revitalized Business Woman
Missouri City (Houston), Texas

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Wednesday
Apr062016

The Transformative Magic of Retreat

It is rare that I write poetry and even rarer still that I share it publicly.  But my successful return to leading women’s retreats this past weekend (after a 5 year hiatus now that Riley is old enough for me to feel OK about gone for a few days at a time!)  is cause for celebration and for mixing things up a little bit.  It is almost impossible to explain the experience of meaningful, intentional retreat to someone who has not taken one. But I’m going to try. Poetry is the best way I know (using words) to paint a picture of the transformative magic that occurs in the liminal space of a nature retreat.  Photography is the best visual way to share the experience, so I’ll share a few imagines and invite you to take a few deep breaths and imagine you were there with us.  (Next time, right?)

 

Bullfrogs bellowed, woodpeckers drummed and gravel crunched beneath our feet

We skipped, giggled and guffawed recounting silly stories and

We held, honored and witnessed tales of hurt, heartbreak and healing

The log cabin was a novelty for some and others tasted succulent spaghetti squash for the first time

We ate lots and lots of chocolate and

Gazed at the flicker of pink Himalayan rock salt candles, the lush beauty of delicate pink roses and altar items laden with personal symbolism and meaning

The sun shimmered on the water as we moved our bodies and engaged our five senses

Tuned in to Mother Nature

We inhaled the scent of the trees

Listened to the cacophony of the birds

Witnessed new shoots of grass covering the earth

Tasted the fresh morning breeze

Embraced perfectly symmetrical pinecones

We emerged with new friendships, new connections and new perspectives on business and life

Refreshed

Renewed

Revitalized

Retreat is a powerful way to engage all five senses, reconnect with nature and clear away the cobwebs in your brain so that you can return to daily life with sharper focus, renewed energy and inspiring new ideas! While a weekend retreat is ideal for true immersion in nature, peace and quiet, even just an hour or two of a mini-retreat can have positive results! What plans can you start making to get yourself out in Nature soon? (Here are a few tips!)

I’m already planning my next Revitalization Retreat for Fall 2016. As soon as I have confirmed the details and location, I will share it with you. In the meantime, if you want to consider going on retreat with me in a few months, please email me to get on my early notification list!

Here’s to bellowing bullfrogs and revitalizing retreats!

-Elizabeth

Wednesday
Mar302016

Top 5 Most Popular Revitalization Tips

I love to celebrate just about anything! Big things like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, new babies and new jobs are all deserving of a big party in my book. But little things deserve recognition, too. Things like acing an exam, hitting a fitness milestone, organizing your garage, getting a good review at work, etc.  And that’s what I want to celebrate with you this week – a little thing.

I’ve written 52 newsletters in the past year! Haven’t missed a week! Woo Hoo! I’ve written a lot in my business in the past 15 years. Several years’ worth of blog posts, e-zines, sales pages, copy for 7 (Yes, 7!) websites, hundreds of social media posts (I especially have fun on Facebook) and dozens of my articles have been published. Writing is part of how I share my message with the world.

So why is this 52 week milestone a big deal?  While I do write a lot, I had been inconsistent in developing content for my website after taking a sabbatical when we first moved to Texas. So I set a goal for consistency (thanks to my coach, Jane) and put a system in place (thanks to my assistant,Danielle!) and it’s worked like clockwork. The thing about being an entrepreneur is that it’s really easy to get caught up in shiny object syndrome. Running away with the next new idea or hot topic is fun and interesting, but it’s the regular commitment to putting out quality content that keeps readers coming back for more, right?

So I want to take a moment and say THANK YOU!  Thank you for being part of my community and for looking to me for inspiration, advice and stories to help you revitalize your business and your life.

 

  • Thank you for writing me encouraging emails each week to tell me that something resonated for you.
  • Thank you for sharing my articles on social media with your friends and saying “Hey, you need to read this!”
  • Thank you for inviting me to speak to your groups and organizations.
  • Thank you for being part of my tribe. I am so very grateful!

 

In celebration of  52 weeks, I want to share with you the most popular blogs from the past year. Perhaps you read them and need a refresher or perhaps you missed them and now is the perfect timing for you to read some of these revitalization tips!

1.  Asking for Help: What are you Afraid Of? This was the most popular article of all. I think it’s because we are all so used to doing everything ourselves and think that we need to be Super Women (and Super Men!) and do it all by ourselves… and we’re exhausted!  I’ve got a secret: You don’t have to do everything alone. It really is OK to ask for help!
 
2.  Realize Your Worth. I imagine this article struck a chord with readers because it’s easy to get caught up in feeling worthy when you do something good (doing) versus realizing that we are worthy simply as we are (being). Hopefully this is a gentle reminder that you rock just as you are!
  

3.  The Power of Presence.  I wrote this after attending the funeral for one of Riley’s 4 year old playmates. It was a very sacred experience to journey with this family through their son’s illness and his death. I think readers resonated with the reminder to be really present with our friends and loved ones. Life is short and we just don’t know how much time we have here on planet Earth.
 
4.  Give Yourself Permission to Say No! I know that when I talk to my clients about finding breathing room in their lives, one of the phrases I hear most often is “it’s hard to say no!” Together, we work on shifting that mindset and after a while, they learn how liberating it can be to exercise their “no”. Try it. You’ll like it!
 
5.  Five Retreats You Can Plan Today.  Everyone loves the concept of stepping away from the real world for a few days but often people don’t think they have the time to go on retreat. This article spells out some easy ways to get away and revitalize your body, mind and spirit. Ready, set, plan your retreat!

I’d love to hear from you if one of these articles struck a chord for you or reminded you of something you needed reminding of! Please let me know… I genuinely want to know!

Here’s to 52 weeks! (and many more!)

Elizabeth

Wednesday
Mar232016

3 Easy Ways to Revitalize Your Space

Happy Spring! I know you may still have snow on the ground depending on where you live but here in Texas, the bluebonnets are blooming, pollen is EVERYWHERE (Ugh!) and the temps have been in the breezy 70's. When the weather gets like this, I get spring fever and have the desire to clean house – or clean office – or both! Spring is a great time to revitalize your space…here are some quick tips to help you get started…

Have you ever visited a home where you immediately felt comfortable and welcome? You know the kind. The colors pop, lights twinkle, conversation flows smoothly and the energy just feels good. Healthy and prosperous spaces are usually filled with love and respect as people intentionally care for each other and their possessions. To create harmony in your home and/or office, follow these simple steps for some powerful and lasting results.

 

1.  Reduce clutter! The most effective way that I know to reduce clutter is to implement systems. That way, things will get put away where they belong! Life happens. Between junk mail, the kids’ muddy soccer cleats, the home office and pet toys, homes can get a little chaotic. Put systems in place like:

 

  • a coat rack and a basket for shoes by the door
  • a dish for everyone to collect their keys and cell phones
  • a folder filing system for bills
  • a hook to keep Fido’s leash convenient

An easy way to figure out what systems you need is to do a quick inventory of your home or office. Walk around your home with a sheet of paper and catalog the “hot spots”, the areas where there is either a mess or the energy feels chaotic.

After you’ve made your list, choose the top area that feels like it could use the most attention and analyze it. Why are things out of place here? What kind of system could we implement to make the flow better?

You can do this alone but having an objective perspective from a friend or professional organizer or interior designer can certainly expedite the process. After you’ve implemented a system or two, chances are, you’ll feel some relief and be motivated to put even more systems in place.

 

2.  Add color!  Colors can have both psychological and physiological impacts on your life. When you need to bring new life to a space, try adding some new colors to revitalize the energy in the room.

Surround yourself with bright colors to inspire you or soothing colors to relax you. Google “the psychology of color” and you will find all sorts of graphic images detailing the properties associated with each color.

Choose a nature pallet. If you love the beach, consider decorating your home with sand and linen toned fabrics, dark chocolate brown accents (found in a lot of exotic seashells), pinks and sea blue. If you love the mountains, use dark greens to represent trees, navy blue to represent a lake or waterfall and white accents for rocks and stones.

Paint a wall or a room. Paint is the easiest way to transform a space with little cost (and some elbow grease!). Consider how you want to feel in a certain room and match the color to the energy you want to evoke in that space. Or if you don’t want to paint the walls, try painting an old piece of furniture that could use a lift!

 

3.  Create sacred spaces! It can be hard to keep all of the rooms of your home clean and tidy all of the time. But with some conscious choices and clear boundaries, you can create pockets in your home that feel like a sanctuary.

If you like to meditate, pray or read, create a quiet corner. Include special pillows, a prayer shawl, candle, icons, favorite books, a journal – anything that supports you in incorporating peace and quiet into your life on a regular basis.

If you are creative, claim a room (or corner of a room!) as your studio space. If you keep your art supplies in an easily accessible place, you’ll be more likely to give yourself permission to create and  actually use them!

Make bedrooms food, work and noise-free zones. Televisions, computers and phones don’t help us to sleep.  No wonder so many Americans have insomnia because they go to bed and watch the news and hear stories of war and violence before sleep.

Or try keeping just one room in your house always neat and tidy. Doesn’t it feel great to walk into a room that is clutter free? Your eyes have enough time to rest on pretty artwork, admire playful throw pillows or cherish your grandmother’s silver. Reduce the amount of “stuff” you have and you’ll feel liberated.

Revitalized Action: What area of your home or office needs revitalization? Pick one small project and start!

Here’s to colorful and clutter-free sacred spaces!

Elizabeth