Shelly is a Professional Certified Coach (ICF-PCC) with 22 years of nonprofit leadership experience working with people in need of physical necessities (food, employment, housing) while simultaneously accompanying people of faith in spiritual necessities (community, connection, growth). A mother of four, her free time is mostly spent folding socks or wiping down surfaces while listening to podcasts that probably have too many swear words. She loves llamas, river trails, old barns and compelling theology.
Try adding some whimsy and small practices to open up creativity with TSP: Creativity or dive into connecting to yourself and others with TSP: Connection. Options for both cohort work or self-guided courses. All tiny steps… easing ourselves into well-being and vitality is the TSP way!
And it’s been anywhere from 3 months to 3 years in the making, depending on how you count. And, wow, am I beaming just to announce it to you!
Coming next month… to earbuds near you:
Cream City Dreams: A podcast shining light on Milwaukee women. One dream at a time.
That’s right! My friend Meagan and I have been cooking up a podcast that is serving up stories from Milwaukee women who are doing brave things with their lives. Entrepreneurs. Artists. Activists. Community builders. Change makers. Go-getters.
Because if there’s one thing I love more than my community, it’s connecting to and cheering on the women being courageous and creative there!
Check out our website where you canhear the precise moment we we came up with the name, Cream City Dreams. And get a flavor for what the podcast is all about.
Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter so we can let you know when our podcast is available anywhere you get your podcasts – plus perks like early access before our launch day. It is going to be so fun!
In preparation for the Tiny Sabbatical Project, I have a small challenge for you today! A Tiny, Tiny Sabbatical if you will!
Inspiration Listen to this brief podcast from NPR’s Life Kit (21 min) about getting out of a creative rut. (Read the transcript here.) TL;DR (too long, didn’t read) version: Everyone is creative; productivity and creativity are BOOSTED by rest and nothingness.
This episode came out after Sarah and I curated the content for the first offering of the Tiny Sabbatical Project – a small course on getting back into creativity during a time when most people are simply in survival mode. It affirms so much of what we have learned through our experience coaching clients these days – and the reason we created the TSP. January is hard. Pandemics are impossibly hard. Pressure to be super-productive is real. Energy is waning. Content coming at you from all directions is overwhelming.
And it is making us miserable.
Tiny Action Find time this week to stare at the wall. Eat in silence. Drive or cook or shower or fold laundry with no radio, podcasts or phone calls. Twiddle your thumbs. Resist getting out the Wordle archives (I’m preaching to myself here!)
Let your brain wander. Give it some air. Let all the content rest.
And see what happens! Notice, pay attention. What shifts?
This week, I am going to encourage my creative side to flourish by committing to quiet car rides (when I can get them). Anytime I’m in a car alone, I’m going to stay in silence. No catching up on podcasts or phone calls, no making voice memos to myself about the stuff I need to do, no reveling in the nostalgia of 90s on 9. Just quiet.
What will you try for your Tiny, Tiny Sabbatical?
If you have a moment, shoot me a line to tell me what you’ll try or let me know if you have any questions about the TSP. I do hope you’ll join us!
This was going to be a very different post – I started drafting it early in the morning when I have some quiet time before the morning school routine starts. And it was going to be all about the sweetness of Wordle, including:
How the guy who created it did so for his partner’s enjoyment during the pandemic.
How he doesn’t want to capture your info or make you download an app and that so far, it’s just a creative act of generosity.
How the WHOLE English speaking world is guessing the SAME word each day.
And goodness, how even the name of the game is wordplay on the creator’s own last name.
Oh… the possibilities that exist (5 letter word) when you get to choose ANY five letter word to start (another 5 letter word). The joy of that tiny dopamine hit when the tiles flip green. And the rush when ALL the tiles turn green. The sweet anticipation of knowing you cannot play again for another 12-15 hours. Imagining Wordle world unity and…. I could go on!!
Then I went downstairs.
And so now, the BIG TAKEAWAY of this whole email is to get this little ditty looping through your brain: We don’t talk about Wordle, no, no, no. We don’t talk about Wordle!
Because, I talked about Wordle. I was just so excited about it. So excited, I hadn’t even played yet because I woke up wanting to tell everyone about the delightful distraction. And my very loving, very tuned into me husband, listened and simply responded to my yammering on by saying, “3”.
IFKYK and if you don’t know, well… getting 3 is a pretty great score and so just know… gauntlet thrown. And now I REALLY couldn’t wait to play, but I had to wait, because, well… uniform shirts, water bottles, back packs, lunches, toothbrushing, masks, mittens, and boots were now the priority.
And frankly, playing a word game in a quiet house with a hot cup of coffee is my happy place. Frankly-er, it was my only shot at beating my husband’s score.
Before I knew it though, there was a buzz from my son’s room. The competitive one (where’s he get that?) who is also painfully curious (🤔) decided to finish breakfast quickly so he could play.
You see where this is going.
Even my not-so-sweet shouts of “WE DON’T TALK ABOUT WORDLE” did not help. And the joy dissipated quickly as I lectured the spoilermaker on boundaries and the importance of respecting people’s space. So much for fun and games.
It’s now the next day. And I can laugh about it when yesterday morning, I really could not. But it’s clear to me: we need simple joys right now. Tiny places of respite. Ordinary and delightful daily routines. What are yours?
My coaching friend and colleague Sarah Moore-Nokes and I have teamed up to offer the Tiny Sabbatical Project for just this reason. We start February 7 and the four week mini-course is designed to help you ease into reclaiming some creative energy by starting small.
I really hope you’ll join us! Because you can’t be good for the world if you aren’t good to yourself.
Are vitality and inspiration two words that come to mind when describing your work life lately?
We didn’t think so.
As coaches and ministers and care-takers relentlessly dedicated to the Common Good, we hear you struggling.
Your motivation is waning. Your sources of replenishment are drying up. You are tired.
You are so tired, you are quitting our jobs (13 million of you and counting) – and if you haven’t quit yet, how much time in your workweek are you wondering if you should?
And now, back to work after the holidays… with all the expectations that our best, most disciplined selves will show up in the New Year… you aren’t quite sure where to start.
We got you. We created the Tiny Sabbatical Project because we hear and see – and frankly – we are you.
As two certified professional coaches, decades deep in social activism, ministry and nonprofit experience, this past year has been one of our hardest years yet. And in the fall, we joined forces to do something about it – concerned that the people we were coaching in the helping professions – people who care for others through ministry, teaching, healing work or social activism – have a space to easily infuse and reconnect to sources of renewal – starting with creativity. And you know what – the creativity it has taken us to create this project are seeing US through these long, winter days of Zoom meetings and youtube workouts.
We want to live in a world where good people wishing to contribute their best selves to a world desperate for renewal have access to inspiration and renewal themselves.
In tiny doses. Because frankly, that’s the best we can do these days. Let’s ease our way into this, why don’t we?
The Tiny Sabbatical Project:
Will gently CHALLENGE you to take a tiny bits of time for yourself over the course of a month
Will INSPIRE you with stories and reflections curated from sources you may have never come across or some oldies you had forgotten about
Will SUPPORT you with thoughtful questions to get you aligned with your values and purpose.
Reconnect to yourself and your purpose. Rekindle what gives you energy. Find respite and renewal.
Because you cannot be good for the world if you aren’t good to yourself.
Let’s start small together. Join the Tiny Sabbatical Project today!
Sarah and I met in coach training at the University of Wisconsin in 2018. She seemed to ask the questions I wanted to ask, she’s got that settled-nervous-system quality of people whose waters run deep that I so admire, and she complimented my footwear (which ALWAYS prioritizes function over fashion), so you know… I recognized a sister when I saw one!
Sarah and I created the Tiny Sabbatical Project together and I cannot wait for you to meet her.
Join us – we start February 7 over on Teachable. Click the button below to learn more and enroll.
Early in the pandemic, I noticed that I was feeling like each day was both Groundhog’s day and also wildly unpredictable (hello, 4 kids at home).
I decided that I’d try a practice recommended in this article, one that I’ve sent many a client for its quick wisdom on habits that can keep us grounded when times get busy. I reached out to my client list and some friends and offered a Sunday morning ritual: 40 min (hello, free Zoom account) that included meditation for 15 or so and then time to just review the week – check the schedule, review the goals, plan the meals, whatever felt most useful. We’d wind up the calls with some intention setting – or even to ask for support we needed from the group.
Well,18 months later, this group is still meeting religiously. And not only that, we’ve done a couple retreats together – we noticed that around the change of seasons, we all felt we needed a little extra time to do some personal reflection and then the beautiful practice of being witnessed by each other in community.
That’s where the idea for the Pause Challenge was born… and where the Values Retreat being offered by Meagan Schultz (a regular Sunday morning attendee and master-of-online-gatherings) was conceived and offered.
Something beautiful happens, even in online gatherings, when we take time to reflect and relate.
Your chance to experience this is here:
Join the Pause Challenge Community – starts Wednesday, Dec 1! And when you Buy One you Get One – what a great gift to you and a friend as we enter into the busy-ness of December. Take some time each day this month to Reflect & Relate with us.
A curious thing happened to me last weekend. Some friends invited my husband and me to a small dinner party at a fabulous restaurant in a rooftop greenhouse. There were 10 of us total… we had only just met one couple, but everyone else was familiar.
Not sure if it was the novelty of it all – I mean, I’m not usually dining in rooftop greenhouses these days (or ever!) but the conversation all night stayed at a steady hum of hilarious. Everything was funny. From old college stories to hearing about my friend’s first dating experience in her mid-40s to everyone suddenly using their best Yooper accent. And when the couple we just met brought out pics of their beloved Hairless Cat, well… I didn’t think I’d make it through.
I honestly do not remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did that night.
I think it did my nervous system a lot of good. You know the feeling when your muscles are tight and sore, but you get through a bit of a warm up and then your muscles start to relax and feel at ease again? That’s what this experience felt like for my nerves. Like I shook them out, got a bit looser. A Turkey Trot for the Soul.
I’m not sure how you engineer experiences to be like this, but I am convinced that this kind of connection is critical to our well-being. Especially these days when it feels like every other day the News Cycle produces something that has us tied up in knots. This week was a total doozy for Wisconsin – anger, rage, grief, despair, anxiety, sadness – I honestly felt each of these starting Friday around noon through Sunday around 7 pm with residual feelings since. The ridiculous laughter experienced in the midst of that – it almost felt like a survival tactic.
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Two podcasts I’ve listened to in this past year seem really critical to share:
I’m telling you, if your holiday plans include even the slightest possibility of being in an environment that dries up your bones, these two podcasts can help you prep. And if nothing else, they’ll give you a great conversation starter:
Nervous system been in the ventral state lately?
May your gatherings be safe and your hearts joyful this Thanksgiving, Shelly
PS – The Deb Dana podcast encourages us to make a menu of things we know help us get our nervous systems regulated! So, I thought I’d share my Thanksgiving weekend Menu with you:
PPS – have you checked out the upcoming group offerings for December? Find them here!
“What are you recovering from?”, Steve asked the group of us gathered around the work table for an early morning circle discussion. “Everyone is recovering from something.”
He wasn’t calling anyone out – really, quite the contrary – he was calling us all in.
You see, that table was half women who are in recovery from drug addiction which often accompanies the particular trauma of sexual exploitation by way of prostitution and trafficking. And the other half of the table with people like me, who haven’t traveled that road, but who no doubt, are in recovery from many things.
Pema Chödrön, in The Places that Scare You writes: “Compassion is knowing our darkness well enough that we can sit in the dark with others. It never is a relationship between the wounded and the healed. It is a relationship between equals.”
Since my college days, when the importance of service learning was really instilled in me, I was probably given quotes like Chödrön’s and posed questions like Steve’s, but still, it took me a good long while – decades maybe – to truly get off my high horse (as my mom would say) and see myself as an equal to the people with whom I was attempting to “sit in the dark”. I’m not being hard on myself – something I’m in recovery from for sure – but just being honest. As a white, able-bodied, straight, college educated, and cisgender woman, I am given the benefit of the doubt a lot, things work out for me more often than not, my privilege has afforded me the opportunity to take risks and even in doing so, stay pretty darned comfortable.
So what am I in recovery from? For me, it’s the blind spots that accompany the privileges I have. The ways I have to work to see “isms” at work – and often, it’s not in time, so then I feel I have failed and will never ever get it. It’s in needing to remind myself that working for equity and justice is urgent, while also taking responsibility to keep my own children safe and fed and nurtured. It’s recovery from the perfectionism that accompanies all of it – when will I get it “right”, how can I act if I don’t quite feel ready, what if I hurt someone even while I’m trying to do what’s right.
Coaching provides a space to be honest with what we are recovering from – so that we can show up for the important people and work in our lives with integrity. It’s a process – it takes time, but luckily, no one has to do it alone.
Do you struggle to stick to those resolutions for spiritual or personal growth?
You know, the ones you were all fired up about just a few short weeks ago? Is anything still kindling that spark?
In this series of three workshops, we will use the rich language of Christian scriptures for the day to rekindle our inspiration *and ground those insights* by identifying where in our lived experience we can more adequately reflect the values we profess.
Each workshop will build upon the last so that by the end of our time together, you’ll see those sparks of insight growing into fire that warms, purifies, enlightens – and fuels even more change.
And the best part? The energy of beloved community to support us on the way.
What will I experience?
Guided meditations and activities, grounded in the Scripture of the day, to facilitate deep reflection and visioning on our lives.
Group coaching to connect your insights to inspired action – the key to creating meaningful and lasting change. Group coaching allows for many perspectives and voices to bring about insight while also allowing space and time for personal insight.
The support and accountability of a group = the power of community.
Option to add individual coaching for reduced rate of $75/hour before, during or after the workshop.
Optional – Individual coaching (up to 3 sessions at discounted $75/session rate)
BONUS: On Site Childcare available and provided for you. If needed, please note the ages of your child(ren) on the Registration Form.
One full scholarship ($50) available by filling out this application by January 22, 2020. Form takes 15 min plus one 30 min conversation following submission to take place week of Jan 23 – 29. Selected recipients will be notified by phone January 31.
Sundays: February 16 and 23, and March 1, 2020 from 3 PM – 5 PM (Workshop builds on itself, so participants invited to participate in all three sessions in the series. Note: the original start date was February 9, when a big snow storm changed the plans!)
Firstfruits – The Village Court, 890 Elm Grove Road Bldg 2, Suite 6, Elm Grove, WI 53122