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When Things Don’t Go As Planned …

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How many of you are planners, doers, controllers that love to run a tight ship? Or maybe you’re a project manager that has to be accountable for the minutest of details ensuring that strict budgetary guidelines are adhered to while managing a team. Details, details, details are SO important!

But what if your project goes over budget? What if your team members quit in the middle of your project so you have to adjust the deadlines? What if your plans get cancelled or what if your “tight ship” gets nailed by a storm?

Cathy and I manage multiple projects with many connected pieces and moving parts. When our parts fly off (now THERE’S a visual!) or plans change mid-course, or storms blow in, here’s what we remind one another of:

  1. Step away from the chaos AND BREATHE!!!
  2. Distract yourself for an hour or more – have coffee with a friend, book an overnight get away!
  3. Call in an expert and ASK FOR HELP!!!
  4. Build your team into the chaos and ASK FOR THEIR GUIDANCE!
  5. Celebrate with a little self-care – book a manicure, pedicure, massage or whatever tickles your fancy

One of the reasons Cathy and I started Simply Blossoming was to create a safe space for women to relax, rest, slow down and really be in the moment ensuring they leave the weekend feeling rejuvenated and able to tackle life’s “glitches”!

Love,

Laurel

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We NEED to Connect

group photo 1I have two favourite weekends of each year where I’m surrounded by friends  – the weekend of Simply Blossoming and my annual girls ski trip. They fuel me. We laugh, cry, share stories and learn from each other. Even though we don’t a lot throughout the year, when we see each other, there’s an immediate ease. It’s as if we go into a bubble where the rest of the world stops. We just focus on us getting together- not work, not kids, school, siblings, partners – just us. I love these two weekends in particular because of the authenticity of the women who are with me. The “masks” are left at home and the sharing begins.

It can feel indulgent when there are so many pressures at home, at work and with our roles in our communities to escape for a weekend. I know that I am a better mom, wife and sibling because I go away and connect with other women. I learn a lot about myself. I feel cared for, in a way that can only come when the women show up authentic. Nothing to prove. Just wanting to share, listen and support.Cathy & Laurel May Soiree

If you have never had the chance to attend Simply Blossoming you are missing out. The women who come are literally the most incredible, down to earth, welcoming, fun and inspiring group. Ready to support with no questions asked.

Laurel and I have co-created this retreat only focusing on how the women can get the most out of the weekend. Not the bottom line. Not our needs – simply by caring about giving the ladies the best possible experience.

We welcome you with open, loving arms and I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

With gratitude,

Cathy xo

We Are So Much More! By Laurel Crossley

I was chatting with a young client of mine at the end of her school year who had dealt with friend “issues” – bullying, unfriending, talking behind each other’s backs, etc. Finally, a wise teacher of theirs took the posse aside and suggested to them that they were all such powerful young women with the ability to make great changes but that they CHOSE to focus their energies on petty things. In that moment, my 13 year old client had a truly profound moment that will stay with her forever – she was told she was powerful just as she was!

Imagine being told at a young age that you held the power to make great changes on this earth! Imagine being told that you had beautiful, game-changing energy.!

  • How many times we are told we aren’t good enough, we need to improve, or work harder?
  • How often are we given the opportunity to actually explore what we contribute to this earth?
  • How often do we get caught up in the negative thoughts or thinking that happen on social media or in the news?

We are SO much more than our careers, our roles, our volunteerism. As a Blossom, you exude an energy that very few possess or talk about openly! The Blossom community truly knows how powerful each of you are and how much you contribute as your own, beautiful energy. Time for you to get out there and share your beautiful light with the world, Blossoms!!!

In love and light,

Laurel

17 minutes a day? I can do that!

PA240209.JPGWhen I attended the 2016 Simply Blossoming retreat I went to an amazing workshop by Melissa Siepmann. She was talking about taking time for ourselves in a meaningful way. When she broke it down, it was literally 17 minutes a day to commit to 2 hours of self-care per week. Seriously! Just 17 minutes. I felt overwhelmed thinking about taking 2 hours to myself each week, but I felt a lot better when it was broken down into a manageable chunk of time each day. I could have a bath, meditate, write a note to a friend, paint my nails – you can actually do a lot in 17 min! Since the time of the workshop, my pattern has faded about the actual timing (17 min), and every day I crave that “me” time. I make a point of breaking away from work, and nourishing myself – whatever that means that day.

After my own experience, I wanted to know more about the benefits of self-care for every woman (because I’m a research nerd!). After much reading I realized that it’s so important to take the time in order to show yourself that you love and care for your own well-being.

Adrienne Pringle, who is doing a workshop at the 2018 retreat, sent me a wonderful article about self-care for the caregiver. In this article, Saakvitne and Pearlman (1996) offered a great model of self-care called A: B: C (pretty straightforward!). Think about these three areas in your life

A = Awareness of our needs and the limits of our physical and emotional resources

B= Balance between our activities, work, play and rest

C= Connection to self, others and something larger

Cool right? Simple yet a wonderful way to really evaluate what’s going on with ourselves.

What I love about this that it includes CONNECTION. The essence of Simply Blossoming is all about connecting likeminded women in the interest of self-care and personal development.

Consider attending the 2018 Simply Blossoming retreat the weekend of October 19th to 21st – it’s an awesome way to re-connect with yourself too.

With gratitude,

Cathy

Cathy Thompson

Link to article:

https://anzccart.org.nz/app/uploads/2017/06/Huggard.pdf

Sometimes you need to Re-Treat! By Laurel Crossley

 

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This “spring” has been crazy – snow, ice, freezing temperatures and only a couple of glimpses of warmer weather! And to make matters worse, I was hit by that horrible flu bug and hit hard! I was in bed for a week and sick for an entire month adding to the frustrations of a long, cold winter season!

I lived on a diet of soda crackers and popsicles, had to cancel classes, postpone meetings, miss a mom/daughter trip and Easter celebrations due to an entire month of illness. I was feverish and cried a LOT! I was frustrated, angry and miserable and until I had a conversation with one of our Blossoms yesterday, I hadn’t realized WHY I needed this illness! What, what???

December was a super stressful month for me on a personal level and I’d had my busiest year to date! My body literally decided for me that I needed a re-treat from life – get off the front lines of life and rest!

Our physical selves have a brilliant way of reminding us we ALL need down time, rest and relaxation. When I was off, I realized (and was reminded) of a few things!

  • Cancelling is okay – people understand and want you to be healthy!
  • Self care has GOT TO BE my number one priority and that means MORE down time and vacation time! While I was sick, I booked my summer vacation!
  • In order to grow my business, I need to make myself dispensable! I need to hire more people and replace myself so that I CAN take more me time!

I challenge you … to consider what kind of re-treat YOU need – a new self-care routine, a vacation, a trip of a life time? The possibilities are endless and we’d LOVE to hear what you’ve planned for your re-treat … and of course, the Simply Blossoming Retreat is a perfect opportunity to make a commitment to your self-care!

Love Laurel

How your past is holding you prisoner…and what to do about it

Breezing through Facebook on Easter Monday and I came upon a video from Super Soul where Oprah talks about forgiveness.

Freedom and ForgivenessSeeing this helped me to pause and reflect. I reflected upon the issues in my life that I hold onto, which cause me pain and anger. I know that I should forgive, but for some reason I can’t seem to (or really want to) let go.

Oprah says “forgiveness means giving up the hope that the past could be any different”.  Interesting. It’s not solving the issue, not wishing that it didn’t happen – it’s letting go and moving on. There is no hope in changing the situation – it happened and that’s that. I believe, through personal experience, the “letting go” part is the toughest because it keeps creeping back in to my thoughts.

The only way I know how to truly let go of things (nod to the various Simply Blossoming workshop providers) is to meditate. When I do a purposeful meditation, I can consciously and unconsciously focus on something simultaneously. I hold the thought in my mind, and through deep, regular breaths, I’m able to focus on letting the energy go. I often will imagine the image of what I want to let go of in my mind’s eye, then let it float up to the Universe (or set it on fire – depending on the issue).

One thing Oprah does not mention is being conscious about offering GRATITUDE for the circumstance prior to letting go and forgiving. I have found that offering gratitude not for the experience, BUT for the life lessons the circumstance has brought me, is a more complete way of letting issues go on the path to forgiveness.

Is there something you need to let go? Someone you need to forgive? Not for them – but for you? Take the time today to remove the shackles of this low energy for brighter days ahead.

Cathy xo

Here is the link to the short video of Oprah talking about forgiveness:

https://www.facebook.com/SuperSoulSunday/videos/1578859192161595/UzpfSTU1NDc4MDY2MjoxMDE1NjU2ODkxMjg4NTY2Mw/

 

Being grateful will change your life

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I am grateful. Each day I wake up and thank the Universe for the life I have and the opportunities that come to me. I feel it in my bones, I breathe it and I live it. I certainly have my bad days, but I consciously try to change my thoughts (not always an easy task). Being a part of the Simply Blossoming community has allowed me to learn and grow from the women who I have come to know and respect. We share tips and tricks for having a happy life and gratitude is front and centre.

Not only does focusing on being thankful make you feel good, it actually attracts amazing things into your life! We all know the law of attraction where “like attracts like” – so when you focus on the things you LOVE about your life, the universe will give you MORE. When you focus on worry, you will receive more issues to worry about. There is amazing research underway by Dr. Robert Emmons at the University of California where they are studying the power and potential of gratitude. Have a look at their findings – is there a way you can incorporate a daily practice of gratitude?

A summary of their findings so far:

  • In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
  • A related benefit was observed in the realm of personal goal attainment: Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
  • A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others). There was no difference in levels of unpleasant emotions reported in the three groups.
  • Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008).

Today I want you to write down 10 things you are grateful for – little and BIG! Give that list a big kiss and send the positive vibration out to the universe! Then trust.

With Gratitude,

Cathy Thompson

 

Reference: http://emmons.faculty.ucdavis.edu/gratitude-and-well-being/

 

What’s Love Got To Do With It? By Laurel Crossley

Ahh Tina Turner .. the words to this anthem often stick in my head as the perfect ear worm – but seriously, what does love have to do with it? The search for love, real love, true love, a soul mate, our twin flame often proves to be an elusive beast.

Marketers slam us with messages that tell us to buy, buy, buy as a way to demonstrate  our love for that special someone – chocolates, flowers, diamonds, gifts, cards, etc. etc. I have been questioning the idea of love, self-love and the love for others and how it forms within us.

As many of you know, we announced that our theme for Simply Blossoming is Love and as the keynote speaker on this subject, I have been on a journey to discover what the science behind love is.

I began by teaching children in different classrooms around the globe to send messages of kindness and love to one plant and ignore the other. The plants were identical in size, shape and type and placed side by side in a sunny place and watered. The results were significant – one month later, the plant that was sent loving and kind thoughts grew taller, had healthier foliage and had more leaves! The results were the same despite the plant type, or age of the learners participating in the experiment. Our loving energies and words and thoughts affect the growth of plants (and presumably those around us).

I was recommended a book a few months ago entitled Love Sense by Dr. Sue Johnson which tackles the science behind romantic relationships. In her book she talks about the attachment to our mothers being the first “true love” experience of our lives which teaches us how to find those loving connections to others and only then (once we’ve experienced this type of love) can we truly love ourselves. This completely contradicted what I had believed for years – that self-love comes first and only then can you find true love.

I am SO excited to be bringing what I continue to learn to this keynote talk at Simply Blossoming. Cathy and I know that this retreat is only as successful as the love from our Blossom Sisters which of course, comes from our profound Sister Love for one another. When we are surrounded by a positive, loving Sisterhood, anything is possible!!

Love,

Laurel

You are Part of an Incredible Community

group photo 1.jpgIn 2010 I met one of the most interesting, fun and intelligent women – Laurel Crossley. The moment we had coffee together, we hit it off and had an immediate connection. As time passed, we came together to co-create Simply Blossoming and hosted the first retreat on October 21, 2011. In 2018 it will mark the 8th anniversary of this fun, invigorating and amazing annual fall retreat.

After the first retreat we knew we had created something magical with the women who attended. Something that was indescribable. We heard a story of two women who attended the retreat and ran into each other in the community and one said to the other, “are you a blossom?” and the answer was “yes”.  The ladies themselves coined this term – not Laurel and I and it is still used 8 years later.

For years we have tried to summarize what Simply Blossoming really is. How could 1 weekend make such an enormous impact on the lives of the guests? What was the secret? Each retreat, it was the same – the ladies had a hard time articulating why they loved the weekend so much and knew it was pivotal in their personal growth.

The secret is that it’s a community. It’s a group of like-minded women who come together to share, laugh, cry, have fun and be present with themselves. There are no excuses. There is no judgement, only support. This is a strong community of blossoms who will do everything in their power to help you achieve your dreams once you make them known.

Year after year we see the connections, we see the community and we see the amazing potential of each woman. We did some research into this and found many articles on how connectedness and community have a powerful effect on our lives.

According to Ottmann, Dickson and Wright (2006) in their research paper, Social Connectedness and Health: A Literature Review:

It has been suggested that social networks have a psychosocial as well as a psychological effect on mental health outcomes. In particular, social networks are said to generate psychological effects when they provide social support, social influence, opportunity for social engagement and meaningful roles, resources and material goods, and intimate contact [89]. The psychosocial impact of social networks is claimed to transform behaviours.”

We invite you to join us on our journey this year. We’ll be posting monthly blogs, publishing regular newsletters, having ticket giveaways and sales to continuing to build this incredible community of women. Join our mailing list herehttp://eepurl.com/UxjND 

I feel incredibly grateful to each of you.

Cheers to an amazing 2018!

-Cathy Thompson

What Do I Do Now?!?!? Post-Retreat Success! by Laurel Crossley

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Post-retreat fall out … it happens with any life-changing, person-altering experiences we are exposed to. It may feel like sadness, a dense fog, a vacillation between euphoria and hysteria; quite simply a myriad of complex emotional experiences. As an event organizer and professional speaker, I am not exempt or immune to these emotions either. In fact, how my “audiences” respond alters my life even more dramatically as I must purposefully align my communication with each audience I experience and I experience all those emotions along with each audience member.

Its no surprise, then, I had to/have to do some serious work AFTER each of these experiences including Simply Blossoming and I was actually guided to write this post for the Blossom community to share what I do to support my self.

I meditate on what areas of self need to be addressed. Sometimes it’s my physical body, some time it’s my super emotional brain that needs TLC and sometimes my spiritual self goes wandering off into the woods to frolic in the ferns … just got a hilarious visual there … ha ha ha!!

I take action and find people that can help to get me back on track. If I don’t know anyone specifically, I reach out to any member of the Blossom community which amazingly has a HUGE pool of resource people that can help out. The Blossoms are “magic”!

I pay attention to any residual responses my physical, emotional or spiritual form may be “hollering” at me as I move throughout the day. It’s amazing what our “selves” tell us each and every day to remind us to take great care of our self.

So, what did I do post SB 2015 Retreat??

I went for a facial – to release the tension in my facial muscles and planned a night away with my husband to one of my FAVE sacred places to go – The Oban Inn on Niagara-on-the-Lake. The energy there has supported me since childhood and it’s my go to place for relaxation.

I booked a channeled reiki session with Deb Harding ( our SB Meditation guru) and she did a HUGE karma release and energy rebalancing. You may contact Deb at sacredvibrations@gmail.com

In past years I have booked a massage session with Ani (this year’s meal time challenge Lovey) and a chakra rebalancing session with Laura Reid (our Yoga instructor) as I am very connected to her indigenous work. Laura may be contacted at riantecreative@gmail.com

The bottom line is, when you process as much as we do at Simply Blossoming, it is VERY important to be patient and allow the energies and content to flow naturally. I’ll keep you posted on what I will be guided to do next and in the meantime, if you’d like to book a private, one-to-one session with “Ole Auntie Laurel” to assist you with your processing, please reach out! laurel@opti-mom.ca

If you want to hang out MORE with the Blossoms, consider purchasing a membership with your retreat gift certificate – yahoo!!

xoxo

Laurel