IMAGE: SLOAN PHOTOGRAPHERS 

Gah! I cannot wait! The Breathe Intensive: making it work for mother entrepreneurs is FINALLY online! And it’s going to be AMAZING! 

REGISTRATION INFORMATION

What: a 5 week online course for mother entrepreneurs.

When: class begins April 7.

Where/How: The beauty of this class is that you can read, watch, practice, and participate throughout the week whenever it is convenient for you—from any timezone, anywhere you have Internet access, at any time of the day or night. Most students should expect to spend an average of 3-4 hours per week “in class” and/or completing homework assignments.

Sign Up: Registration opens here March 24.

Note: Bookmark the registration page and mark your calendars! Unlike other online courses that simply open registration to an infinite number of participants, I’m limiting class size significantly to ensure I can give you the individualized attention you deserve. 

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SYLLABUS

WEEK ONE: Cultivation: define the why. Clear clutter, cut fat, purge garbage, and deliberately map the course.

WEEK TWO: Curation Part I: examine existing patterns of work/life passion, purpose and profit and get clear about what’s working, what’s not, and why.

WEEK THREE: Curation Part II: examine the existing environment, support and structure of your work/life—establish your individual Rules of Engagement for balance and success.

WEEK FOUR: Initiation: focus, define and implement a practical and immediately actionable “how” that’s destined for sustainable success.

WEEK FIVE: The Power of YOU (alternate title: It’s Totes Buddha, Yo): stepping in to your authentic artistic voice, maintaining momentum, and achieving (and celebrating!) measurable results.

SCHEDULE

All participation and interaction for this class will take place in a private online forum. (Registered students will receive instructions on how to access the forum a few days before class begins.)

On the first Monday of class, I will share Lesson 1 in the class forum as well as e-mail it directly to every student. Throughout the week, as you read the lesson and work through the homework assignments, feel free to post thoughts/questions in the forum space. I will be available to answer questions and facilitate discussions, and I invites and encourages all class members to collaborate and work together to offer feedback and facilitate discussion as well! (Note: I will be accessible via the forum M-F only.)

Each week will follow the same pattern.

Q and A calls: because I believe real human to human connection is such a powerful thing, I’ll be facilitating 4 question and answer calls throughout the duration of our 5 weeks together. Questions may be emailed in advance or asked during the live call (calls will be recorded and links provided for those who are unable to participate live). Conference call in information will be provided within our class forum and via email, and calls are scheduled as follows:  Friday, April 11 from 10-11am PST | Friday, April 18 from 10-11am PST | Friday, May 2 from 10-11am PST | Friday, May 9 from 10-11am PST.

NOTE: As each group has it’s own unique dynamic, a few days before class begins, I will send out a simple questionnaire to help me get acquainted with the specific challenges and needs of the students enrolled in the course. Feel free to share as much or as little as you would like, or don’t fill out the questionnaire at all. This is your rodeo, partner! Remember, anything you share in this questionnaire will be held in the strictest of confidence.

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IMAGE: SLOAN PHOTOGRAPHERS 

A Quick History

The moment The Breathe Intensive was conceived, I knew the most logical format would be an online course. It is, after all, a curriculum developed for mother entrepreneurs—the irony of requiring time away from family and work in order to learn to better manage family and work was not lost on me. However, I maintained, and still do, that sometimes you have to take a few steps back in order to take leaps and bounds forward. Plus, I feared that the intimate nature of Breathe would be lost in an online community.

However, after Breathe officially launched in 2011, week after week, month after month and year after year I fielded dozens upon dozens—if not hundreds—of requests for an online variation of the intensive. I haven’t turned a deaf ear to these requests. I’ve spent the last couple of years sincerely considering how to make this work in a way that would preserve the integrity of the material—no, the integrity of the entire Breathe experience—while simultaneously allowing participation by those who are desperate to attend yet find it (during this particular stage of life) logistically impossible to do so.

Long story short, we’re finally there, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!  In fact, now that I’ve done the work to convert the material to an online format, I’m seeing all the ways this will be an even BETTER Breathe experience than ever before!

I can’t wait to see you in class!!!!

Good morning. Good night.

“You look awful!”

He steps in to get a better look.

“Like, (perplexed pause), you look like you are about to die!”

He leans in even closer.

But before he can find a way to further articulate his horror, we both burst into side-splitting laughter.

“This is what I need him for,” I think, as I look down and realize that I’m still in my pajamas at 7:30. . . PM.

There is a pile of wrappers that used to contain the canister full of dinner mints that have sustained me all day long.

This was . . . a day. Ya know? And if I’m being totally honest, I’ll say that I have a lot of days like this. I’m not the mom who wakes up and has her make-up on before she gets the kids out of bed in the morning. I’ll never be that mom. I wish I were that mom. But guess what? Reality: I’m lucky if I get my make up on before our semi-annual family photo session, forget the drop off line at school. And that’s ok with me. (Sort of. . . . Well, most of the time. OK. A good percentage of the time. Like say, 35%.)

On days when I’m feeling particularly spread thin and frazzled, I remind myself that I’m a part of something. Something that matters. In fact, I’m a part of a lot of somethings that matter, and I get to live them out every day, with my entire soul. That means something to me. It really does. So yes, I’m still in the stars and stripes that I put on at 10:30pm . . . yesterday. And no, I’m not ashamed (I’m a little ashamed) to be admitting that out loud. (Actually, you know what? I did it on purpose. It makes going to bed again a cinch.)

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Dear, sweet, strong, brave, bat-freaking-crazy, zombie face Natalie,

Every day, as you break up fist fights between your children, stop and look at them (but not for too long, or there will be blood). Stop and really look at them, and remember that they are yours. You made them. And you get to keep them, forever. That’s a something to be proud of. 

As you look at the pile of dishes that is stinking up not only the kitchen but is sneaking it’s way into your living space as well, remember, you survived on dinner mints today because you wanted to, not because you didn’t have enough food to eat. You have a kitchen full of dishes and a pantry full of food to put on them. Why you chose to subsist on dinner mints is a mystery of the free world. But every girl needs to keep a little mystery in her life. So, good on ya! This is all a something to feel very grateful for. 

When your husband tells you you look like the walking dead, wrap your arms tight around his neck, because if it weren’t for him, you would drive yourself right into the ground with how hard you work every day, and you know it. His love and hilarity are the solitary reasons you stay sane and keep your head square upon your shoulders. That is a something to cry tears of joy about.

When you are starting to doubt the wisdom of your 3 month long email strike as you see unanswered messages spilling out the front door and onto the neighbor’s lawn, remember— each one of those emails (except the stupid ones from Living Social and K-Mart) represents one of God’s children that you get the absolute honor of loving on for a few measly minutes of your big bad day. That is a something you need to appreciate as a gift. That is a something you need to remember to love.

When you are losing your mind trying to coordinate all the logistics of your crazy-beautiful life, just look around at all the SPECTACULAR people who are constantly rising up to help, to encourage, to support and to sustain your efforts. YOUR life is FILLED TO OVERFLOWING with not only somethings but someones who love you fiercely. . .far more than you deserve.

 

Above: Discussing Metta (loving kindness) Meditation with Mom after a particularly hard night.

 

 At the end of a long day of hustling like your life depended on it, when your 10 year old asks you to come and not only listen to him practice his drums, but sing vocals for him as well (WHAT?!), remember, migraines.are.awesome. (That’s not a something. It’s just torture, by the way. But it is evidence of a life full of love and belonging. . . and THAT is a something you could never live without.)

And when you didn’t get dinner on the table, and your house is nearing disaster status, and your laundry is taking over the bathroom, and said bathroom smells like number one, and you are exhausted on a cellular level, and despite going a million miles an hour—all.day.long—you really aren’t sure what you even accomplished . . . remember, you have opposable thumbs, and that is neat.

Hang in there, sister. Your life is beautiful.

xo,

Self

PS Want to join me in an upcoming something that I’m incredibly proud to be a part of? Come see me and two of my most treasured and respected friends (Tamara Lackey and Jen Bebb) in Brooklyn, Nashville or LA for a day of encouragement, straight talk and practical, sustainable application that is sure to get you from where you are now (10:45pm in yesterday’s pajamas?), to where you truly want to be (10:45 pm in yesterday’s pajamas, but eating ice cream too??).

All joking aside*, this event is not to be missed. Find (real) information here: What If Conference | The Day Camps.

*Note: this is my last scheduled speaking engagement of 2013.

Pictured (L to R): Racquel Marvez, moi, Manjula Varghese

My episode of The Generations Project won an Emmy last night in the Human Interest category. Pardon the above screen shot of someone else’s cell phone picture, but metaphorically, it’s the perfect example of how last night felt— a blurry moment in the middle of someone else’s dream. It was surreal to say the least.  Wonderful, yes, and totally surreal.

This morning, I woke up to this face. I woke up to real life, and that moment wasn’t blurry and surreal. It was perfectly clear. . . and exquisitely beautiful. . . and filled with real life joy—real life joy that is at least a thousand times more wonderful than all the pretty shoes, fancy dresses and yes, even Emmy awards, the world over.

Over the last 8 weeks, I’ve been really sick. I mean very, very, ill. (No, I’m not pregnant, promise). Because of this, I’ve had to retract from nearly every facet of my life that doesn’t require my absolute presence. Essentially this equates to every ounce of my available energy being focused solely on breathing in and out and loving on my children—there hasn’t been any time left for blogging, shooting, writing, (cleaning, eh hem) . . . or running around like a glorified chicken with her head detached and tucked pridefully under her wing.

And guess what? I finally remember.

I remember that life isn’t about anything except for what’s right in front of you. Oxygen—breathing it in and out, all day long. People—loving them with every last beat of your heart. God—trusting his will and timing, even and especially when it’s confusing and seemingly unfair. Everything else is merely peripheral to what matters most. No, everything else MUST exist solely to SUPPORT the things that matter most.

None of this to say that Emmys (and fancy shoes) aren’t amazing! Last night really was a dream, not to mention an incredible honor! But waking up to that drippy, freckle faced, little boy reminded me, for the trillionth time, that if I want to not only survive but THRIVE in this thing called life, I have to turn down the volume on the things that matter least and emphatically embrace the things that matter most, for therein lies real life joy.

PS. Speaking of fancy shoes, I couldn’t walk in mine. I may be the only person in history ever to walk up on stage to accept an Emmy. . . in bare feet. (Just keepin’ it real.)

I am exhausted to the very marrow in my bones.

But we made it!!! Proof (of the cell phone variety):

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It was raining like nuts-o-ville, but my kids could NOT BE STOPPED.

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Here’s what a trip to Costco looks like when you’re prepping for 6.5 weeks of travel.
(The dog food is for my very pregnant BFF, Rach. Well, for her dog that is.)

More coming soon.

Mwa and ALOOOOHA!

Nat

PS funny story. I fell asleep while posting this (from my phone). Like gone from this world, dead asleep. I woke up 7 hours later with my iPhone tucked under my face. Told you I was tired.

Sorry for the hiatus. (No I’m not.)

We took a Memorial Day trip to California, ate waaaaaaay to much delicious food (ask my thighs) and saw sooooooo many people we love. It was perfect. We got home the day before yesterday, and now we’re getting prepped for our trip to Hawaii (leaving Monday).

WOOSH. (That was the sound of the wind rushing past as we zooooom by. Full speed ahead.)

I’m hoping to get back to blogging (real blogging) soon, but in the mean time, I suggest you take a day or two off. I don’t care who you are, and I don’t give a spit about the circumstances. Take the day off. You need it.

Put your phone away. Get outside. And live. The world won’t stop spinning without you.

N

PS. My darling baby Lincoln graduated from Kindergarten yesterday. My youngest is now a first grader. Oy.