Tuesday, August 16, 2016

writing the layers workshop // atlanta // september 17





I'm so excited to finally come to Atlanta next month with my Writing the Layers writing workshop!  You can find more information about the workshop here and you can register here.

I haven't been blogging much this summer, mostly because I've been busy working offline.  If you are not subscribed to my newsletter, I recently explained my absence, well, kinda.  Suffice it to say that there will be some changes around here soon and I'll be back to regular posting in the fall.

I hope you are having a beautiful summer.  No matter what is going on in your life, the key to happiness is to find the beauty and the opportunity in it, right?   While I'm not posting here for awhile, you can find me on Instagram a few times a week.

Hope to see you in Atlanta!


Monday, July 11, 2016

write words that move with me // august 8





WRITE to release.  
WRITE to heal.  
WRITE to express.  
WRITE to discover.  
WRITE to be of service.   
WRITE to find your voice.  
WRITE to feel free.  
WRITE to unfold.  
WRITE to inspire.  
WRITE to let go.  
WRITE to manifest.  
WRITE to be heard.  
WRITE to make a difference.  

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More than ever, writing saves me from feeling helpless when I don't know what to do or how I can help.  I wrote the following excerpt on instagram the other day and immediately felt lighter, just being able to get my feelings out and shape them into words.  Hopefully letting someone else who feels like me know that their words can be powerful and we all can fight in our own way with our own kind of passion.  Admittedly, I don't always speak out publicly on social justice or politics because I don't want to argue and debate with people.  But I know I don't want to be silent either.  Once again it comes down to knowing your unique voice and using it in your own way to spread the energy you want to spread.  

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What can I do?  

Someone who can't stop watching the videos, the horror, the days gone tragically and abruptly wrong.  Someone who believes that black lives matter, that all loves matter, but black lives are valued less in the society where I live and raise my black children.  Someone who detests posturing and stereotyping and sweeping generalizations about any group of people.  Someone who doesn't fight with violence or hate, but refuses to be bullied into a timid existence because of the random acts of execution happening everyday.

What can I do?

This is what I've been asking myself.  I can refuse to apologize for the color of my skin and the generational trauma that comes with it.  I can stop living in fear of the police, the wrong police on the wrong day, their selective occupational fear, and the assumptions they could make about my outspoken black boy.  I can peacefully and creatively protest.  I can publicly and privately fight and teach and inspire with all the joy and pain that fuels me.  

This adversity is certainly not new, but now it is live in vivid, excruciating color.  Eyes are open.  Hearts and minds are struggling.  But we don't have to be hateful, helpless or hopeless.  We can all show up. We need the organizers and activists as much as we need the healers, researchers, artists and prayers.  We need to remember how abundant we are and how strong love is.  We need to give each other the strength to keep overcoming and standing tall.  Spread something positive. Do something helpful.  Channel love. Don't let fear win.

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Find out more about my four week online workshop here.  Today is the last day for the super early bird special.  Sending you all the love and positive vibes.  Protect your joy.    xo 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

messy happiness + a juicy resource for writer's block



Sunday is a deep cleaning day at our house. Usually by Monday Sunday night, there are already pockets of clutter here and there – the effects of having kids: a toy here, a sock there, crayons on the table. A cup left on the counter. I find myself constantly reminding everyone to pick up after themselves over and over. I get tired of hearing myself talk. But when the house is messy, I feel like I’m failing in some way, like I’m letting things fall apart. Never mind that my children are safe and loved and happy. All I can see in those moments is the clutter, mocking me, despite my efforts to sweep it all away.

But when I’m feeling more centered, I look at the bits of clutter here and there as signs of life. Love lives here. Children live here. And we are blessed. Why should a couple of misplaced things cause me distress?

We can also look at the bigger picture of life this way.

We see pockets of mess in our lives and we think, “This is not supposed to be this way. Every time I clean up one problem, I find another.” When life doesn’t match our idyllic, airbrushed picture, we think we are doing something wrong or we have bad luck or we look around and think everyone else is better off. We become so focused on our problems that we overlook our blessings.

But when your main concern is being aware and grateful no matter what is going on, you can appreciate life with an open heart. The mess is part of the journey. It’s the dirty work you have to do to grow and expand. It’s the difficult conversations you have to have, battles you have to choose carefully, rejections you have to bounce back from, lessons you have to learn to become your truest self.

We don't have to like the mess, but we do need a certain willingness to go through what we have to go through so we can find the beauty in the mess.

Do you think you could view your problems as opportunities to be more vulnerable and creative with your life?   

A version of this post first appeared on my column over at cocotique.com.   Initially I was talking about embracing your mess as a way to appreciate life and be more content.

But there's another way to look at this when it comes to writing.

Because what it takes to embrace your life is the same thing required to embrace your writing voice --  complete and utter surrender.   Not trying to fit a mold or live up to anyone's expectations.  Just seeing what's there -- the truth of it, the light in it, and the wealth of possibility.

We are taught that shortcomings should be hidden and we shouldn’t admit what we struggle with, but I disagree.  Getting comfortable with my mess has put me in touch with a deeper level of self-expression, creativity and peace.


Everything about you, everything that has happened to you, everything you like, dislike, prefer, attract, repel -- all of it has meaning and can be purposeful if you’re willing to work with it.

How can you translate your beautiful mess into a unique story that gives you purpose and inspires others?   How can you put your complexity to work?  Because as others see you expressing yourself and embracing your humanness, they will feel inspired to do the same.

That’s the kind of world I want to live in and contribute to.  One where people use their strengths to be of service and their weaknesses to develop and build character.  The alternative is hiding all of this and missing out on genuine connection and meaning.

Maybe this shift is what's been missing from your personal writing practice.

Today I'm inviting you to join me for an online workshop in the month of August.  I'm excited to be offering my most comprehensive course, the Words That Move Writing Workshop for the third time.  If you've never taken this course, you can find out more about it here and get a big discount by signing up early.  We start on August 8.

Do you have a passion for writing that is not being fulfilled?  Do you want to build a blog or write something that is truly a reflection of who you are?

If so, you are where I've been and I would love to work with you.  Awhile back, I recorded a creative coaching call on writing from the heart and overcoming writer's block.   Here. Listen to it.  It's full of ideas for you to absorb and practice, but it just skims the surface of what's covered in the four week course.   Please share your thoughts with me below.

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ATLANTA! I'm bringing my Writing the Layers workshop to you on September 17.
Early bird tickets are now available.  Get the discount and reserve your spot.
 Limited spaces are available.  xo

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

how to feel comfortable in your skin


source

Be authentic and human and nuanced.  Look for ways to show more of your inside world on the outside.     

Learn from nature.  It doesn't apologize for living out its purpose.  You are made of the same miracle, crafted by the same spark.   Settle into what roots you.

Don't force yourself to do what's popular.  Stand alone gracefully.

Discover what you like.  Dress the way you want.

Surround yourself with people who love you the way you are and want to see you grow.

Practice being more honest, more vulnerable and straightforward about what matters to you.

Find your rhythm.  

Give yourself more space, more time alone, to explore who you are.

Learn how to do something that you think you can't do.  Fail however many times it takes until you get it right.  

Align your actions with your truth.

Say yes to yourself and know your worth.

Don't be ashamed of your shadows and sharp edges.  Use them to enhance your understanding of Life and Self.

Nothing about you is a mistake.

Love yourself through your struggles and messy days.

Remember growth is the goal, not perfection.

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Over the last few years, I've been steadily stripping away the requirements and ideas that were stuck in my head making me feel uncomfortable in my skin.  Reading Alicia Key's recent essay and seeing her look more gorgeous than ever in her bare skin has made me love her even more and has been timely for my journey.  How has societal pressure to look perfect contributed to you holding yourself back and feeling uncomfortable in your skin?

If you can relate to this one, you might also like:  Loving Yourself Naked,  A is for Appearance, Real Life is Not Picture Perfect, Obsessed with Beauty

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

4 stages of self-discovery + a free summer series




Many of us spend our lives wishing for things. Wishing to win the lottery, wishing for a new way of life, wishing all the time and feeling helpless to create our own change.

Many of us suffer for years (sometimes our whole lives) feeling lost and unmotivated, thinking that we were just made that way.  Even when we dream our dreams and set our goals, we may subconsciously make them safe and predictable, relying on what we see others doing to guide us.

Some believe you should only pursue dreams that you know for sure you can achieve.  Others believe that success lies in the growth that occurs from stretching beyond what you know and outside of what is comfortable for you.

I'm with the others.


Monday, June 6, 2016

writing the layers workshop // DC // june 26




Registration is now open for my next in-person workshop in DC on June 26!  I also have a couple spots available for my next virtual one on June 15.  Find out more, watch the trailer video and register here.   This workshop is based on my Writing the Layers workbook and is designed for women who want to use writing techniques to discover deeper levels of self-awareness and expression.  Live attendees receive a copy of the book and our sponsor Goodnight Darling Co. is providing goodies for everyone to take home!  Email me at ggrenee at allthemanylayers dot com with any questions.