What Do You Wish to Leave Behind? What Do You Wish for 2012?

This past weekend I joined Ashley Parsons of Sugarbum Designs, Julia Cross of Tender Thorn Productions, and a number of other Ottawa creatives at the Super Fabulous Sale, a local artisan fair.

It was a lovely opportunity to meet Ottawans one-on-one and to talk about coaching. I had a quick little brainstorm with Cynthia, and she threw her creative talents into a cross-country collaboration with me to produce the Ready for Change coaching booth.

coach, ottawa, what do you wish for 2012

The Ready for Change Wishing Tree


I wanted each person I spoke with to get a taste of what working with a life coach might get them thinking about, so – with Cynthia’s help, and Yoko Ono’s – I came up with the idea you see in the picture.

As people got curious about what was going on at my table, I handed them a marker and a paper heart and asked them to write down one thing they were ready to leave behind in 2011. I was moved by people’s honesty, and their readiness to name what they wanted to leave behind: “worry” came up a number of times; a few people wrote “self-doubt”; someone listed “being stuck and resentful.” I asked them to leave their heart at the bottom of the wishing tree.

Next,  I handed them a paper leaf and asked them to write down something they wished for 2012. Smiles broke out on people’s faces as they completed this part: they wrote wishes such as “more art!”, “patience”, “health”, “finishing my thesis.”

Once they’d written their wish, I invited them to tie their wish leaf onto the wishing tree.

By the end of the day, all of these coach-y questions (“What do you wish to leave behind? What do you wish for the future?”) had yielded a beautiful, blooming tree of hope.

What are you ready to leave behind as 2011 comes to a close?

What are you wishing for 2012? 


Reflection, Perspective, Clarity

When I woke up on Saturday morning, knowing it was time to prepare for Two Hours of Perspective, I was grumpy.

“Why do I do this?” I grumbled. “Why do I invite people over and offer to make cookies and volunteer to design and facilitate a two hour event on my weekend? Why?”

Fortunately, my semi-conscious state fired the answer back at me immediately:

“Because you’re clear on what you’re about in 2011. You’re committed to sending clarity and integrity into the world. You do transformative work. You create the time and space for people to reflect and process. This is what you’re on this earth to do.”

That sort of clarity, which I’m so grateful for, is — I hope — what Two Hours of Perspective participants gained from our gathering this weekend. Ten of us came together and used a series of structured and unstructured activities to reflect on 2010 and prepare for 2011, reflecting on our own, in pairs, and as a group.

If you weren’t able to attend but would like a taste of what went on, drop me a line and I’ll send you the reflection and perspective questions we used, and a visioning exercise we undertook to look ahead to the year to come.

A Bright Shining Light

As I prepare to host Two Hours of Perspective (yes, there are just two spaces left for a lucky person or two out there!), I’m doing my own reflection on the year I had in 2010 and my plans for 2011. Given that setting intentions worked so well for me last year, I’ve been doodling with a new set of intentions to bring to life.

This year, I’m finding myself drawn to big themes.

My overarching 2011 theme:

Be a bright shining light of clarity and integrity.

Additional themes I’m toying with:

More Laura. I’ve heard from clients, from my therapist colleagues, and from wise people kind enough to say so that they want to see more of my being and more of my personality shining through. What would “more Laura” look like? I’m holding this question as an inquiry to explore.

Work whole-souled. I love what I do. “Work whole-souled” means bringing every fibre of my being into the work I am creating in the world. To do work that I can approach with love, care, attention, and talent.

Do transformative work. Do the work that I’m best at, and let the other things go. Focus on the transformative work that lights me up, and that lights up my clients.

Get my yang back. The past year has felt far from hot yoga, half-marathons, karaoke shenanigans, and being in the public eye. I want to dedicate space and time this year to rebuilding my yang.

Follow my heart and trust my inner wisdom. My heart always knows. It always knows. I just have to quiet my head down enough to listen to it. I predict that this theme is going to express itself via a budding meditation practice.

And what about you?

Maybe you’re yearning for a resolution or a goal. Maybe you’re noticing a theme that keeps popping up and inviting your attention. Perhaps you’d like some support this year as you pay attention to your theme(s) (which is what we coaches are here for!), or perhaps you’d like to share your themes with a group that will support you and hold you accountable.

If a theme is knocking about in your awareness, I invite you to give it some time to let it teach you its lesson. Perhaps you’d like to share your theme(s) here in the comments?

To a healthy and happy new year!

Your Invitation: Two Hours of Perspective

As the end of each year draws to a close, I find myself overwhelmed with all things December, and yearning for a quiet space to reflect.

Last year, I decided to do something about it, and I instituted Two Hours of Perspective, an intimate gathering for folks to reflect on the year past and look forward to the year ahead.

I’ll be hosting the 2010-2011 Two Hours of Perspective gathering on January 22, 2011. You are invited.

Two Hours of Perspective, 2010-2011 edition

Between holiday parties, friends and families, and the onslaught of year-in-review lists, where’s the time for us to think about what our last year meant to us and where we are in the bigger story of our lives? It’s here, at Two Hours of Perspective.

In a two-hour, intimate group gathering, I promise to provide thought-provoking questions, good conversation, and quiet time for contemplation and journalling. I’ll arrange the questions and conversation-starters, chart out the flow of the two hours so that you get personal and private reflection, and the chance to reflect with others, and I’ll have some art supplies and wine/eggnog/something on hand. You bring a journal or notebook, or anything else that will help you look back on the year past and look forward to the year to come.

I look forward to welcoming you to reflect!

When: 3pm-5pm, Saturday, January 22, 2011
RSVP: the event is now closed.

As always, please feel free to share this invitation with others who might be interested.

New this year: I’m planning on a spin-off group from Two Hours of Perspective, inviting people who are interested to commit to meeting monthly (virtually or in person) for all of 2011, building off the reflection and intentions you set during the January 22 event. Imagine a community coming together to support each other in our 2011 endeavours, and to hold that community all year long. Join us!

Two Hours of Perspective, Redux: June 26

On December 30, 2009, I gathered together people from all areas of my life for Two Hours of Perspective, looking back on the year and decade that was, and dreaming ahead to the 2010 we wanted to see for ourselves. It was cold, we had banana bread, and cookies, and rum and eggnog and shortbread, and candles, and good conversation. Lots and lots of good conversation.

Coming out of that evening, one person set out on a healthy living goal that has just gathered more and more speed ever since, like a snowball of healthy goodness. Another person took the vision of his Future Self and turned it into a tattoo to remind himself of the force he wanted to be. I wrote down the words I wanted to guide me for 2010, and regularly revisit them and tune back into my intentions for the year.

As I look out my window now, at an explosion of greenery, at flowers running rampant, at 30+ degrees of Toronto summer, the time is ripe for Two Hours of Perspective, Redux. Mid-year, let’s gather together to reconnect with our goals and dreams for 2010, share where we’ve been, and dream about what we want as we move to summer and then to fall. Whether you were at the December Two Hours of Perspective or not, you are invited to Two Hours of Perspective, Redux, on Saturday, June 26 from 2pm-4pm (probable location: Bloor-Bathurst area).

Send me an email at readyforchangecoaching@gmail.com to RSVP and for more details. Hope to see you there.