The Rise of Feminine Leadership

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Right now the world needs steady people who can show up for the present moment. -Sakyong Mipham

I had the great pleasure of presenting, at Accenture’s International Women’s Day celebrations, here in Ottawa Canada. Ironically, the venue was at the Rideau Club, where at one time not too long ago, women weren’t allowed into the Club. It’s so hard to imagine. Isn’t it?  A week has passed since, the celebrations, a fond memory, but a conversation that needs to continue to evolve and not just one day out of the year.

We’ve come a long way, but yet, have far to go.

We’re out of balance.

The world that we live in is chaotic and over-burdened. I have felt and know that many others have felt this imbalance for years. I have been in the process of unlearning <a lifetime of learning> over the last nine years to learn a new way of working and living. It hasn’t been easy.   What I’ve discovered is that by reclaiming my voice, to say that the way we’re working and living isn’t working is not okay, and taking action to learn kinder, intuitive ways, that just feel right matters. Our wellbeing matters.

I believe that we’re at a pivotal time in our history, where we get to rewrite the script to create a better world. A vision of a World that is kinder, supportive and compassionate, by embracing and embodying the feminine as a guide to becoming familiar with who we already are. As we become familiar with who we already are, we become gentler versions of ourselves and gentler on others. We all have a role to play.

When we lead with this gentle strength, we empower others to do the same.

It’s with this refreshing intelligence we can plant the seeds of kindness, lead by example, and show the generations that follow a better way forward. As women, naturally these traits and qualities are innate, which enables us to be powerful agents of change and allies. I shared a fresh perspective on what this might look like and how it might take shape by embodying these four pillars as a grounding foundation to lead and live our lives well:

Connection

Connection to ourselves, presence, being, confidence, community, purpose, voice, nature, Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 4.09.36 PMand to a larger source other than ourselves.

Collaboration

Supported in healthy partnerships and a circle of care, surrounded by people who have your best interests at heart and are keenly vested in helping you to rise up and to be your best self. We’ll find solutions and solve problems together. We’re here to help each other.

Compassion

Compassion for another human being and all beings. I’ve learned compassion by sitting in sacred circles, where stories are shared. Each time, I heard another person’s story, in a circle, I felt a deep resonance, as their story, became my story, my story, became their story – – it taught me how to feel another’s pain and suffering and a broad sense of our shared humanity. We’re all interconnected.

Care

Taking great care of our wellbeing and our relationships, children and community. Care begins with ourselves, mind-body-soul. At the root of it is self-compassion and treating ourselves like we would our best friend. Reaching out when we need help, even if it means being vulnerable, but trusting that it’s okay. Creating healthy boundaries and finding the courage and voice to say when it’s not okay.

When we strengthen and trust our foundation across these four pillars, we have access to our innate wisdom, intuition, and creativity, along with our ability to fuel innovative solutions.

Here’s the wrap up of my talk:

I hope you’ll join me in taking action and remember that it’s not just a movement. It’s how we live and work. Together we’ll come back into balance, building a mindful, uplifting script that allows all beings to thrive, be well, and to live in peace.

video source: Noah Davidson Films

© 2013-2017 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
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8 Tips for Meaningful Success

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Achievement isn’t the Secret to Success.

So What Is?

A colleague and I interviewed people randomly to hear what they had to say about success – it might pleasantly surprise you – it did us. I was astounded by their sheer honesty, authenticity, and courage to express what success means.

We weren’t convinced that the current definition of success, heavily influenced by cultural pressures, supported us on our path as much as it hindered our ability to flourish. With this in mind, we wanted to hear what people in our community had to say:

What is student success? What is business, entrepreneurial success? What does it mean or better yet what does it feel like to be successful in your career and life?

What if love nourished it and not fear? What if you welcomed failure? What scares you most about failure? What do you want to be remembered for?

What we found was nuggets of wisdom, through shared sentiments and telling tips for success that might help you to move forward in mindful, positive ways as you begin to define what it means to you. What your success looks and feels like is different from the next person. But what we discovered were shared themes that may help in opening a different language for success, to thrive.

We’d like to introduce the beginning of a new conversation on how we change the language and redefine success in business, education, career, and life that supports a collective understanding, born of truth and wisdom, not wrought with fear.

Meaningful Success:

  1. Meaningful success isn’t about achievement as much as it is about being remembered. Remembered for “Who I am” and “How I’ve shown up” in my community and the world.
  2. You define it in ways that support you and your goals and find people that will nourish you. You can lean in on your family, friends and perhaps, even the people you don’t know, but are willing to help because you have an armoring of faith.
  3. By identifying and moving through your fears, you can realize success. You don’t have to be plagued by it.
  4. Failure is scary, but it gets you closer to your ‘True North’ providing you with the hints and clues necessary to get back up again with strength, resilience and grace. What scares us most is being alone, homelessness, not being good enough, not having the strength to get back up again. You see, the thing is you’re never alone, believe someone always has ‘your back.’
  5. Having an impact on others lives, doing what you love and helping people are essential ingredients, even if this means, not getting paid what you might expect or what you’ve been sold. Our compassionate nature, innate to being human, fuel success – we’re happy and flourishing when we are helping others. Purpose and happiness trump money. Not downplaying the importance of money, but, “how do I do good with money and give back”.
  6. Pressure to be successful is real and can have an impact on your ability to flourish and to be happy. Redefining it in compassionate ways that recognize ‘your story in it’ is empowering.
  7. We’re hard on ourselves. Gentle reminders serve not to judge or critique in a manner that are harmful, but remember self-compassion. How can you best support yourself to achieve your dreams or what matters most to you so that you can work on your highest priorities – we’re all here to do something? Make it great, make it beautiful, as you define, with a little or a lot of help from your friends.
  8. What if you started reflecting on the last ten minutes of your life – what might you do with the time that has bestowed upon you?

It was an honor to witness candid conversations, like this that remind us of our humanness. I’m happy we followed the threads and grateful for all who participated in their willingness in making this world a much brighter place.

Here’s a peek inside the conversations, we hope you enjoy it.

Let’s continue the dialogue across Canada and around the world. Please join us here @paulapyne #ottsuccess

Photosource: icpublishing.ca

 

 

 

 

 

© 2013-2017 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
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UP #59: The Time is Ripe for Change and How Self Care is no Longer a Luxury, it’s a Necessity With Paula Pyne

Paula Pyne

It’s an honor to ‘go live’ with Deb Ozarko on her infamous podcast, called Unplug: Inspired living for critical thinkers with compassionate hearts.  I wouldn’t think of myself a ‘status-quo crusher’.  That’s what Deb has coined her Unplug guests who are courageously leading a ‘conscious revolution’, exploring new possibilities, ideas, and approaches to living and working, paving a new way forward. It’s refreshing, gaining momentum and it’s making Big waves, awakening hearts, and souls, alike.

It was a cold winters day in January, as I took the call in Ottawa, Canada. We were both feeling a heaviness, dense energy and  as though it might be a challenge to string a few sentences together yet have a conversation about some important topics, like, Who Am I! Not on our side and in the depths of Mercury retrograde, can impact communications.

Something magical happened. By the end of the conversation, through a lot of love and laughter later, we felt a bit of the weightiness lift – it was a wrap.  It’s so wonderful to witness when we step into our ‘element’ ignited and fueled by passion, how the energy lifts up and is incredibly contagious, like wildfire. By the end of this podcast, we had our ‘dancing shoes’ on, celebrating each other and all of the podcast listeners, to Cool in the Gang’s, Celebrate.  Brilliant.

Though, I must admit, when Deb, emailed me and said, “It’s live,” my heart skipped a beat. ‘I’m my own worst critic’ (Virgo’s, you know where I’m coming from), but as it turned out, it became a practice in self-compassion.  Instead of self-judgement, sneaky at its best, being present to the ‘inner-dialog’ and taking part in a different conversation, one of kindness, treating myself as I would a best friend. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard my voice recorded. A strange thing to hear your voice playback. At first, and as I listened, I surprised myself in parts, not remembering what I said while other parts I giggled at myself and all the ‘quirks’.  As we moved along in our conversation, it blossomed into a beautiful example of how we share and celebrate  similarities along with unique approaches in our work that help each other to ‘rise-up’.  Isn’t that what leadership is about: to support each others greatness and uncover the ‘diamonds in the rough’?

It’s such an honor to be a part of Deb’s soul-tribe and this space she has so beautifully created and shared with the world. It’s beauty in the making and truly has a life of its own. But that’s how these things work, as we know it…..

“Great creations birth from Source.”

There are forces much larger than ourselves at work here, call it our allies or our angels.

May these conversations ‘be carried well’ and land where its needed most, shining a gentle and loving strength.

Let the angels take care of the rest.

Grab a nice cup of tea or java, listen for awhile. Let’s keep the conversation going.

Here’s a bit of background, about the podcast, as a guide:

• The new business paradigm.
• The importance of quiet space for inspiration.
• Bringing creativity, innovation, and well being into the world of business.
• Integrating mindfulness, compassion, wisdom, and spirituality into work and life.
• When purpose aligns with truth, great things happen.
• How the body knows what to do best – which is to become whole.
• The great strength in softness.
• How we drain our life force when we don’t listen to our inner self.
• The importance of unplugging to recharge and reconnect to the true Self. Honoring the needs of the body through restoration.
• How we are all leaders and how it is our responsibility to lead in a way that is uniquely ours.
• The importance of like-minded community.
• The new emerging paradigm – how it looks is up to us.

 

SHOW NOTES:

Uplift Consulting, Paula’s website.
Reclaim and Uplift Your Feminine Soul Restorative Retreat – February 21, April 18, August 15, November 14, 2015
Disseminating the New Business Paradigm blog post.
• Find Paula on Facebook.

Photosource: Breathe In Photography

© 2013-2017 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
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Quiet Celebration

Delighted to welcome in the softer energy of 2015. 2014 was a wild ride.

It’s a gentle, kind, more feminine flow this year. I’m working on another post, where I’ll be cd1ccd819a7d2cbbd0797f1f5fd1c1dftalking about building a strong foundation for the year ahead. I’ve been getting ‘my house in order’ and working on other exciting developments. Looking forward to sharing with you soon.  The pieces are still making its way on the page, so for now, I’ll honor this timing. There is no rush in this present moment.

I’m going with it….

This, gentle, kind, more feminine flow this year. Welcoming the slower pace, and it’s refreshing.

Earlier this week I mentioned in my social media feed, how the Lioness appeared as a guide along my path, just around the time of the New Moon. She’s back, and graciously shared the working title of my book to be released this Fall… It’s been a work in progress for years; much of it written, guided along the way, just putting together all the threads and pieces. Trusting in my guides, angels, intuition, creativity, imagination, dreams, and these threads. It’s coming together, one thread, one light at a time.

I’m a writer. Words live in my heart and are dear to my soul. Writing is part of my daily life. Each day upon waking, a long-standing ritual, after meditation, I write with a pot of tea close by, candle lit, still in my jammies – – I’m home. The house is quiet, silence surrounds, awaiting the birth of a fertile seed. Beginning with gratitude, followed by whatever appears on paper. I love the feeling of how the pencil (pen just won’t do) dances along the page. The words are what I need to hear. The voice of my higher self always shows up, with a raw honesty, a remembering, it’s how I figure things out, interpret my astral travels and commune with Spirit. My writing life has taken a life of its own, and it brings me great joy and pleasure. I love this space to share it with you. Honored.

I stumbled across this the other day; timely.

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

by William Stafford

May we all be blessed with what it is that brings us Joy. Today, I celebrate in this gift. Celebrate Living.

A deep bow.

Paula Pyne

 

© 2013-2017 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
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‘Tis the Season to slow down, chill out

candle-lightDecember is a time of slowing down and reflection. Contrary to what’s happening where many are scraping up every last ounce of energy to meet end of year deadlines, while preparing for social gatherings and holidays –let’s be honest, it ain’t pretty. Long gone is the ‘spring daisy and fresh as a peach’ façade, old man winter is upon us.

For many, this year has brought monumental movement and change – it’s been a tough year, with intense energy, lots of twisty, windy roads, sharp turns and unexpected halts. You see much of the challenges we faced were a call to do things differently where a little more light cracked through into the dark, with an invitation to see things in ways that spurred on personal growth. The way things were working for us seemed to have expired, like an outdated stuffy business suit. Welcomed, along with it, came the possibility of new insight and realignment into life and work, in ways that better aligned with your truth and what matters most.

For now, Mother Nature is calling us to slow-down, chill-out and do nothing. True story. It feels confusing, the pressure of the external environment to do more with an internal call of what it is you need differ in big ways.

As we head into the darkest day of the year, approaching the celebration of Winter Solstice, I hope you get the time to rest and celebrate just how far you have come. Take a moment to reflect, listen compassionately to the rythym of your heart and ‘stoke the inner embers’ to gracefully and easefully welcome in 2015:

 “This is the time to be clearly identifying what you need and want in your life, what is working, what isn’t, and what needs to shift in order for you to be nourished. This cycle brings us bigger changes, a certain cracking open in order to see our missing pieces. For now, gently provoke your dreams and desires. Stoke your inner embers. Trust in the process of removing and letting go, in order for your new life story to fully unfold.” Swati Jr – Jyotish Astrology

I’ve already started to quiet down to honor my natural rhythms and the cycles of nature. Sleeping a little longer and spending more time indoors in my cozy living space, enjoying the change in the season.

Reflecting on the year almost gone by, my heart is full with gratitude. Grateful for the unfolding (as twisty as it was!), abundance, soul connections, and personal growth with all its challenges, opportunities and intensities that made this year what it was. Humbled.

It’s that time, to find and appreciate a little bit of quiet. I’ll be retreating from the busyness and getting ready to receive a good long break to welcome in this new life story. So, off with the social media channels and see you in the new year, refreshed and ready to begin again.

Wishing you a peaceful and restful December and Blessed Holiday Season.

Be well and take good care.

With love and light,

Paula

 

ps I have used the word ‘Tis, requested by Dallas Green;-)

© 2013-2017 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
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WILD – An Invitation to Pause

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A tender and mischievous invitation to pause and ask, as Mary Oliver did:

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I love poetry, especially the work of the American poet, Mary Oliver.  I have been asking this question repeatedly for some time.

The post on Brain Pickings is a lovely, quiet and refreshing reminder.  Timely, as we are heading toward the next new moon, nature’s way of telling us, to start anew, and welcome fresh new beginnings.  First, we are being called to rest a little, quiet down, find our own natural rhythm and come into Being mode.  With it, follows the possibility of renewal to re-focus on the things that matter most in this one wild, precious life.

Rest in stillness, even if it’s for a little while.  Try it, stop, pause and rest for awhile and BE. Get out of your thinking mind, into your body, or take a walk in the woods, explore nature and see what happens.

After things quiet down, a little, consider accepting the invitation and read the book WILD, by Emily Hughes.

Emanating from the playful and poetic story is a clarion call to shake off the external should’s that shackle us and stop keeping ourselves small by trying to please others, to celebrate what John Steinbeck called “the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected”.

First read it to yourself, your inner child, then to your children, then to your nieces and nephews and then to other children who need this right now.  It’s a story about belonging and being different.  As we embrace this one wild and precious life, let’s honor and love the differences within and between us.

You cannot tame something so happily wild – Emily Hughes

 

 

© 2013-2017 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
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Mindful Productivity and Less Stress Days

As serendipity would have it, Wework, NYC a co-working company that builds communities to empower people to do what they love, came across my desk, just when I successneeded to write my next blog post. Sometimes we need these friendly little nudges of inspiration to get going and take action.

I happily stumbled across a post, on how to save time by doing less. I am all about doing more with less and exploring ways to simplify. It’s what I practice and preach.

This list resonated with me and serves as an excellent reminder to be the best you can be and focus on your priorities, what really matters.

In the fast pace within in which we live, there is something really attractive about simplifying and doing less while accomplishing more. Shortening down the ten-page to-do list with perhaps, one. The sound of this might make you cringe, but it is possible.

Here are a few suggestions to ponder. It might be worth your time:

Stop, Pause and Breath

Often, I say to clients, ‘we don’t know, what we don’t know.’ It takes quieting down our busy minds to see things with a fresh perspective and find the space to lead. We need to stop, push the pause button and step outside of the ‘to-do bubble’ for a few moments, to better understand what is working and what is not working.

Stop, pause and breathe. Sounds simple, right? It works. Conscious, diaphragmatic breath, meditation and mindfulness will lead to greater focus and productivity, saving time in the long haul. Moreover, you will be a happy soul for it.

Relax and Calm the Body, Tame the Mind

By pausing and taking a few breaths, you can relax and calm the body and mind. Take a ‘time out’, allow yourself to get curious, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I doing and why?
  • Is it serving me in a balanced way?
  • Is it feeding and fuelling my energy or is it depleting?

Patterns and habits run deep, and if we find ourselves on auto-pilot, perhaps it is time to regroup and fuel positive change.

What You Focus on Grows

I realize as an entrepreneur that we all have tasks that are not so desirable, but when done with awareness and kindness, it will go much smoother. Making a ‘conscious’ choice and intention to do less, while still gaining the benefits will prove fruitful.

Questions worth reflection:

  • Do you intentionally use your time wisely or are you distracted by ‘busyness’?
  • Do you respect your own time and others?
  • Are you on time or always running late from one meeting to the next, trying to catch your breath?

Mind Over Matter. Focus and Visualize Your Highest Priority

How we manage our thoughts and attention are critical. According to Science, on average our minds wander 46.9% of the time – a significant chunk of the day; we may not be paying attention and on auto-pilot. Think about your commute to work – do you remember what happened?

Cultivate present moment awareness. Try focusing on one thing at a time with undivided attention, until it is complete. If it is a larger goal, break it down into smaller chunks, so that you save time in the long run.

Quickly we can get distracted, with an email request or a trip down the social media abyss, to discover that the day has passed without accomplishing the goals or tasks originally laid out. Time is precious, live it as though it is your last day and focus on what matters most.

Choose wisely, stay present, visualize success and desired outcome.

Find Your Natural Rhythm of Productivity

Perhaps, a paradigm of the past is the 9-5 workweek. Have you ever noticed that some days trying to get things done is like pushing water up hill? We proceed by forcing our way through and end up with misguided actions that lead to a lackluster finish. You see, we have this great ability to align ourselves to our natural rhythm by following an internal clock – listening to the needs of our bodies, as well as the moon cycles. I’ve been able to tap into super productive times and have backed off at other times to listen to the needs of my body. I know when to rest and rejuvenate, coming back stronger, clearer and ready for the next challenge in renewed ways. Try it, you may just find yourself, working smarter, not harder. Why not align yourself with the force of Mother Nature?

Create a Toolkit for Less Busy, Less Stress Days

Explore a daily ritual, not intended to become another item on your ‘to-do’ list that helps you ease into the day by setting regular times for meditation and mindful breathing. Commit to stopping for awhile and notice the beauty of your surroundings. Take three to five diaphragmatic breaths – it can change the course of the day.

Above all, we can only work with what we have and continue to be grateful for it. Time is precious, so use it wisely. On the right stuff, that is.

 “Notice that very often, the very first things we give up are those that nourish us the most, but seem ‘optional.’

The result is that we are increasingly left with only work or other stressors that often deplete our resources, and nothing to replenish or nourish us — and exhaustion is the result.”  Mark Williams and Danny Penman, Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World

Another lovely resource: LESS, Accomplishing More By Doing Less, by Marc Lesser, CEO, The Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.

 

© 2013-2017 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
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Regroup, Reconnect, and Recharge

Warm breezes rustling through the leaves of the trees, days long and light, playful birds singing joyful songs. Summer is gently calling us to come out and play, and then rest for a while.dragonfly_wings

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
~ Mary Oliver

At the halfway mark of the year, it’s a great time to regroup, reconnect, and recharge. This year has been moving at lightning speed and the pace, along with the ubiquitous change, has made for a challenging year so far. I’ve welcomed the slower pace of summertime this year and I’ve been reminded yet again that our current ways aren’t working, that there are better possibilities for us, ones that balance and foster leadership, purpose, passion, authenticity, and overall wellbeing. As I recharge in the abundance of summertime, I’m realizing that success isn’t ‘all work and no play’. I’m a ‘doer’ and have this thing about ‘getting things done’, even sometimes at the expense of my own inner balance and peace. Call it my Achilles heel. Yet I truly believe that we can have inner balance and peace, while working to accomplish our dreams and goals…and it begins with our definition of success.

Redefining Success…It’s Sweet

“Don’t just go out there and climb the ladder of success. Instead, redefine success. Because the world desperately needs it.”~ Arianna Huffington

In the bestselling book, Thrive, Arianna Huffington lays out a bold and refreshing message of change, highlighting the need to redefine success and shift the focus from money and power to wellbeing and wonder…essentially, to thrive. It’s a wake-up call, and it is well overdue. We need to shift our perspective because we know, deep down in our hearts, that it’s good for everyone and when it’s good for you and I, it’s good for the world. It sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Except…our actions aren’t always congruent with our wellbeing and our choices aren’t always wise for the world. We need to continuously remind ourselves of what is ‘truly important and meaningful’.

Right now, it’s far too easy to get caught up in the frenetic and chaotic energy that surrounds us. We have a tremendous amount of wisdom available to us but our fast pace is blocking our reception. It is time to slow down. It’s with a slower pace that we have access to wise action and conscious choice.

Slowing Down

As I embarked on the slower pace of summer, I found myself in the heart of change, an opportunity to redefine and gain further clarity on some important things in my work and life. I don’t have all of the answers and, well, it’s scary. I’ll admit that all this introspection is a good test of patience. It’s easy for me to fall prey to the ‘thinking mind’ which offers some really nifty short-term fixes, but they always falls short of my longer term plan to support my dreams. So the answers lie in waiting patiently for my intuition and heart to speak and in the meantime, accepting that everything has a natural order. I have to remind myself not to muck it up and to keep the faith.

Of course, I’m not always the greatest at following instructions! This work requires the time and space to get out of daily routines, so that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve come to know all to well that forcing or pushing through something when it’s not ready to come out into the world, simply doesn’t work. Respect it. Honour the timing.

I see this mistake happening frequently in organizations. Tight timelines placed on projects, with an ‘at all cost to get it done approach’, only to realize that by pushing through, trying to squeeze every last drop, the results are lackluster and without innovation, not to mention the team of unhappy campers, ready to jump ship.

Sound familiar?

We’re constantly and madly producing at light speed. I know this way of working isn’t working, and it is not sustainable. It leads to burnout, stress, and uninspired results. So let’s slow the pace a bit, and appreciate a softer and gentler approach to the days ahead.

True creation and innovation requires spaciousness. They come from being quiet, mindful, and present. There is great power in leading from this place.

A big part of the daily ritual that keeps me grounded and out of my ‘thinking too much’ mind is my writing practice. This, combined with travel and rest, is the perfect antidote. Writing my thoughts, my fears, and my intentions allows for the creative space I need to fuel the next chapter. Through this practice, I can be ready, eager, and yet patient for the harvest to come.

I hope you’ll take some time off too. Time is precious. Step back and take a look at the beauty within. Pause to smell the flowers.

A few questions for your reflection:

  • How are you redefining success?
  • Growing requires us to break away from our comfort zones. Where are you growing in your life? What is coming into fullness?
  • What is out of balance? What needs to be course-corrected in your life/work?
  • Which seeds need cultivating?
  • You are the author of your next chapter. What are the themes? What’s your storyline?
  • What’s working well? What’s not?
  • What needs renewal and attention?

Enjoy your summer!

Love and light,

Paula

PS. Did you read my article in Women of Influence Summer Issue? It contains some great reads to add to your summer list! Here are a few others I’m enjoying:

PPS. Ready for retreat? Stay tuned for dates in the autumn of 2014 and throughout 2015.

 Photosource: http://www.grahamowengallery.com/new_york/dragonfly_wings.jpg

 

© 2013-2017 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
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Women of Influence – A New View

Thrilled to share a recent interview with Women of Influence that was just published in The Women of Influence magazine, summer issue.

It was such a pleasure! I enjoyed reflecting and stepping back, to talk about how some of the most inspiring and uplifting books (it was hard to choose!), came into my life, just at the right time and changed my life.

The magazine is a culmination of role models, a deep look at issues relevant to women in business, and insights from signature voices, all in a high-quality, highly intelligent, beautiful book – delighted to be a part of it.

I hope these beautiful resources make it on your summer reading list.

Enjoy!

Zoom

 

 

Zoom2

© 2013-2017 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
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Reclaim and Uplift Your Feminine Soul

I have wanted to create and lead a women’s retreat for many years. It was always in the isparkleleigh-1356808639_600backdrop as invitations had surfaced along the way. Finally, the right time came on the New Moon, March 30th. It was a remarkable and magical day—more special than my mind ever could have imagined.

You see, when we work on our dreams the seeds are planted in our hearts to support our purpose and beautiful things can happen. It reminds me of the following poem, which was read to 30 women from around the world in Banks Peninsula, NZ, where I attended my first retreat led by Donna Farhi, who has inspired my work:

You must give birth to your images.
They are the future waiting to be born.
Fear not the strangeness you feel.
The future must enter you
Long before it happens.
Just wait for the birth,
For the hour of new clarity.
—Rainer Maria Rilke

I have always said that it takes courage to live out your dreams. It looks quite easy from the outside, but it is not so. What has always moved me past that gulp and inner thought of, ‘Oh my goodness, what did I just sign myself for?’, is acknowledging and preparing myself the best I can. To move past it in mindful, positive ways, and as I learned in my 20’s from author Susan Jeffers to “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Instead, I listen to the whisperings of ‘believe in yourself, Paula’ and ‘this is what you are here to do. You are being called to step up and outside of your comfort zone.’ When the retreat was announced in the Ottawa Citizen, it was no different. But when I embark on my work with Uplift, I know it’s right. I get this overwhelming feeling of ‘I care about this,’ which is an important drive that’s constantly moving me forward. Along with the signs signaling right and left turns all pointing to this day, it was time and I was ready. (And so were the 20 other women who came together on this beautiful and blessed day!)

“I would recommend the Uplift Retreat to anyone who is looking for peace, tranquility and a way to reconnect with yourself and others as women. It was rejuvenating, inspiring and healing in a way that I never would have expected. I enjoyed every second and continue to feel the benefits of the day. Thank you, Paula.”  –  Tina

What moves me ahead isn’t necessarily all of the details, but it’s the vision that inspires 10153012_620274708054648_7067744565404200129_nme to go along and ride the waves—and sometimes the waves are, well, like the ocean, rocky and overwhelming. Sure, there were moments where I got in my own way and fear reared its head. I heard that negative chatter whispering words of worry and self-doubt. By allowing it to surface, I recognized it for what it was and happily moved on. At the fork in the road, when I was forced to stop, pause and breathe, I discovered it’s a blessing, something that I needed to learn to dissolve. But for the most part, when I was aligned with my purpose it was smooth sailing. What I learned through this process was a deep seeded realization: when there are rocky times working on the projects we care about, we need to fuel ourselves with self-love, as it will give us roots to fully awaken to our Unique Gifts, Wisdom and Inner Knowing. Earlier this year, I recalled a woman in my yoga class talking about this very concept of self-love, and that for her it was radical. I can also deeply relate to this; it is radical, yet so necessary on this path.

The retreat was a gift. It helped me to fully come into, embrace and express my gifts as well as to share them with the world. Although I know the things I’m good at, this was different. Now I’m stepping up and owning it in an embodied way, and that truly is empowered leadership.

It was a perfect day. Although it was technically spring, winter had returned and nature 861758_700was telling us on this first day of the New Moon that we needed to go inside and rest in her arms for awhile. The message was to take moments of silence and refuge and listen to our heart by getting back to what we know deep inside, our most natural state. With the heavy snow came heavy hearts and heads—body, mind and soul. I felt the heaviness before we began; it was in the weather and in the planets, a certain palpable intensity.

As the women arrived one by one, quiet in their own way and not knowing what to expect, formerchurch1_700they were greeted with smiles, a cup of warm tea and a treat. To start, we all just hung out for a bit to get acquainted with one another before we assembled in a restored church dating back to the 1900s and located in Gilles Corners, ON, Canada. The soothing melodies of a warm fireplace crackling and the faint smell of burning wood combined with aromatherapy blends and lavender from the glowing beeswax candles filled the air. It was a feeling of warmth and welcome. When I sat and looked at everyone in silence, I closed my eyes and took a deep a breath. I silently prayed calling on my Angels, and as I felt their presence, it was time to begin. “Welcome,” I said. And in that moment, I felt like we were all in the right place and at the right time—it was much like coming home.

“I felt totally comfortable, and never like I didn’t know what we were doing, or what to expect, or indeed that I COULD be doing anything wrong. The language Paula used was always very encouraging, gentle and non-judgmental.”—Ann

So we began in a sacred circle to introduce ourselves and talk about what brought us there. We were from different walks and in various life stages, but every single one of us sat and listened intently with loving kindness and deep contemplation. There was a lot covered in that opening circle. The themes that surfaced were of letting go, seeking, being on the path to self-discovery, rest and self-care, to name a few. Tears came and there wasn’t any holding back. It was a tender authenticity of expression, a sharing of what needed to be said and voices heard in a safe space. This circle acted like a gateway for what was yet to come. I was truly amazed at the courage and vulnerability expressed; right from the start of the retreat, I felt such an honour to be an integral part of it all.

We then moved into a morning of profound rest, with meditation-constructive rest, somatic movement and restorative yoga—all to the nourishing and uplifting sounds of crystal bowls and Naomi Athena’s angelic voice raising the vibrations. We spent some much-needed, quality time inside just being quiet, resting for a while, letting go and creating a space for the new to emerge. After we awoke, there was time to write about what may have surfaced in this quiet space, which was done through guiding affirmations and questions of self-inquiry.

The comforting smells of the kitchen made there way down the hall and into the church. diningroom_700After blessings, we headed to the dining room for the Jeffersonian Lunch. We had great food and wonderful conversation. As a group, we pondered two questions that were emailed out to all participants prior to the retreat:

  1. At what moment did you become interested in the themes of the day (Feminine leadership, Self Empowerment, Self Care,  Authenticity) and what brought you here?
  2. How can we move forward, building in practices like mindfulness, compassion, wisdom and feminine leadership into mainstream -daily life/work?  What are obstacles and opportunities? How do we support each other, along the way?

The energy livened right up and something really special surfaced. Not only the sharing of stories, but also how we were all relating to and inspired by the new possibilities that lie ahead and were spurring us in new directions. At one point, all you could hear was laughter and all you could feel was a joy that had turned lunch into a celebration of sorts. I would like to think it was a celebration of our empowered feminine leadership. Our stories have an incredible power to inspire and uplift, so we shared the wisdom that had been dormant, waiting for this moment to rise up. We laughed and we cried. Things stirred and moved in the direction they needed to—without contriving or holding onto—and this led to powerful authentic conversations that uplifted the entire space and filled it with grace. It was quite glorious.

 “Paula’s powerful guidance was delivered through a unique forum that was profoundly nurturing with its aura of femininity. She provided a quiet, reflective and restorative opportunity that challenged me to consider priorities and opportunities to increase the effectiveness of my personal contribution. The retreat provided an opportunity to strengthen my ability to stay grounded, focused and fulfilled -Sue

After a long, unencumbered lunch that included a celebration of discussions and the sharing of wisdom, we made our way back to the church where Naomi Athena led us through the breath work, voice and movement. So we breathed our bodies, igniting fuel to move in ways that were fresh and new by listening to and letting our inner wisdom and higher self lead the way. We found ourselves in a trance, moving in new ways that was supported by the music; we were going to the beat of our own drums. It was new for most of us, and it elicited this feeling of change. When it comes to change we naturally resist, but we did it anyway. Rattling our own cages awakened a joy within; we were saying ‘Hello, come on up, rise up.’ Then we settled, stood in a circle and harnessed the power of our voices in song. Through singing out, we listened to the songs in our hearts and beautiful voices emerged with power, clarity and grace. The room filled with love. After all, isn’t that exactly what the world needs?

Afterwards, it was time for rest with Yoga Nidra, which is otherwise known as yogic or psychic sleep. We nestled into our comfortable spaces, back to the comforts of home, as we lay down for a while and I guided the women on a journey. I lead them back in time to right up until that moment and then forward to envisioning themselves as older women who have lived this life to its fullest. I encouraged them to listen to what this wise old woman had to say at this point of her life.  When I first heard her voice, many years ago, she said to me, “Paula, you are beautiful and loved. No need to worry, everything is going to be just fine, darling.” And then she laughed with a joy in her heart that lit up my life in that profound moment.

As the journey came to a close, we took our time to awaken, resurface and respect the moment by following the needs of our body and inviting our intuition to guide us. We refueled with a break where we focused on our intentions. After all, an auspicious time to let go of the old and embrace the new is during New Moon and the transition into spring. There was a lot of letting go on this day. Letting go and surrendering. We were ready for new beginnings.

Lastly, we journeyed back to the very beginning, as we ended the day with a sacred circle. We shared what had transpired and that where we had started was very different from where we had ended. It was a day of transformation that had given us all much more than we had bargained for. This is what happens when you allow things to unfold in spirited, compassionate and kind ways. We got out of our own ways on this day, and let it all happen. Everyone had a role to play. You see, we all have a role to play: to show up in this life just the way we are. And that truly is perfect. Accepting ourselves with great kindness and self-compassion provides us with the key ingredients to in turn support those around us in compassionate ways. Embracing these feminine qualities is what we so desperately need in our world.

We stood one last time in circle and chanted the words ‘I stand in my power and truth,’ and then one by one we burned our intentions in the fire. And off we went…

I’m grateful to have shared this day with you. It will always hold a deep place in my heart.

“Thanks for sharing in this beautiful vision. I know that this retreat is only the beginning of amazing work you are stepping into as a healer and visionary for our planet. It was a truly special day that touched the lives of many.”—Naomi Athena, Co-Facilitator

Photosource: OBEO.

© 2013-2017 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
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