Adventure is What You Make It

Adventure is What You Make It

Adventure is What You Make It

I’ve never considered myself to be an adventurous person. I never liked trying new foods, I’m afraid of heights, and pollen allergies always make it difficult to venture outside spring through autumn.

But in thinking about what I would write for my blog this week, I considered the following question:

What does adventure mean to me?

And that opened some interesting avenues. My idea of adventure doesn’t have to be the same definition someone else would give. I’m also certain that I’ve done things other people would consider highly adventurous. So what does adventure mean to me?

Kira TregoningI’ve been a horseback rider for many years. I remember begging my mother for riding lessons when I was 9 (though in truth, I didn’t have to try that hard, as she was also a rider when young), and I gleefully began riding after that Christmas present came through. Riding is in my blood. It’s an inextricable part of me, and when I am not actively involved with horses, life is much less fun. Working in harmony with a thousand-pound creature to create a partnership in the arena is like nothing else.

As a kid, I dreamed of being a three-day eventer. This discipline involves show jumping, dressage, and cross-country jumping. Jumping never scared me, even though it’s one of the many ways riders fall off and hurt themselves, sometimes resulting in serious injuries. And I have definitely fallen off and hurt myself while riding! But I’ve always felt that jumping was like flying—that weightless feeling as my horse and I are going over jumps in sync with each other is like nothing else.

Non-riders, and even a few fellow riders, have told me they think jumping is crazy and dangerous, and they would never do it. So while jumping feels natural and fun to me, and feeds my soul with adventure, others consider it too much of a risk.

What activities do you find frightening or intimidating? Why?

How can you overcome those feelings to give them a try?

Kira Tregoning- presentationAdventure doesn’t have to be purely physical, either. I took a huge risk and a big leap of faith when I began working for myself four years ago. To briefly recap my business adventures: I had been laid off from my previous job and while job searching, was working part-time at a stable. I suffered a severe concussion from a double hit to the head in a freak accident at the barn and was unable to work for a while. I looked at my skills and what I thought was marketable and decided to start freelancing as an editor and marketer.

Four years later, I’ve built a successful social media marketing business. It turned out far better than I ever could have planned, and it certainly wasn’t on my life to-do list. I could have continued trying to find a job the traditional way or stayed with my previous employer when they called me back almost a year later and offered me a job. But I decided to continue working for myself. That particular adventure isn’t for everyone, and is loaded with risk, stress, and sometimes, failure. But the rewards I’ve gained have been invaluable, and I now can’t imagine going back to working for someone else. I don’t know exactly where my business will lead me, but I can now say I’m up for the adventure.

When have you taken a leap of faith?

What intangibles do you consider adventurous?

If you’re ready for a new adventure, join Wholistic Woman Retreats for the Be Adventurous Scavenger Hunt on July 25, 2018! Come with your own team or make new friends at the event. Teams will follow clues based on the four Wholistic areas of mind, body, heart, and spirit. Come laugh, explore, and play with us! You’ll learn something new about yourself and others while connecting with this growing community of women. Learn more and register here.


Today’s blog is written by one of our alliance partners, Kira Tregoning. Kira is the owner and founder of Maia Media Management, a local marketing business. She offers social media management, consultations, and trainings, as well as video services, proofreading, and editing. Kira is also a published author with two fantasy novels available on Amazon and more on the way. Learn more about her at


What are you afraid of? I have several “top of the list” fears: heights, bees, and certain types of reptiles! These fears are easy to manage. I don’t step too close to the edge of anything that is way up in the sky, I don’t wear perfume in the summer, and I hardly ever have to deal with reptiles. These sources of fright can be managed by lifestyle choices.

There is another type of fear that is more challenging to navigate. It can keep us from everyday activities, or trying something new. It holds us back even when we know it may be in our best interest to meet new people, try something new, speak up, shut up, or show up. Doubt plays a big role in this insidious version of fear. Doubt is the voice of the naysayer, the one who attempts to shout over our inner cheerleader. Both voices compete in our minds when we are trying to be fearless.

The naysayer lurks in a self-induced shadow of doubt and hides behind our feelings of inadequacy. It reminds us of our previous failures, the times when things didn’t work out. It’s comfort zone is a deep cavern of uncertainty.  It can smother our hopes and dreams like a security blanket that is woven with the yarn of perfectionism, comparison, and scarcity. We can find ourselves sleepily going along in life, listening to the lullaby in this safety zone.

cheerleader; fearlessness; coaching; take risks; take chancesI have learned that when I listen to the cheerleader, I become more confident. The voice that is telling me to “go for it” has rarely been wrong. She encourages me and reminds me that anything is possible. Sure, I’ve been premature with some of my fearlessness, but I know that the more I trust her, the quieter her competition becomes. The shadows of doubt dwindle in the light of her spirit.

Fearlessness takes practice. I have found that taking some small, courageous steps creates the building blocks I’ve needed on my journey to finding my bravest self. Like a toddler learning to walk, I’ve steadied myself with each step. Sometimes, I’ve fallen anyway.  When I do, the cheerleader reminds me to get back up, face the fear again, and step towards the courage I am seeking. These steps have ultimately led to leaps of faith, the ones that feel scary, but also exhilarating!

Listen to your cheerleader…you know who she is. She is the one saying, “You got this!”

And you do!

If you would like to learn more about being fearless…especially with your finances, I invite you to join me for the next Wholistic Woman Evening Retreat: Be Financially Fearless on September 27th from 5:30-7:30 pm in Frederick, MD. 

Today’s Author: Jane Helm is the Principal of Money Mentor Group. As a wealth coach, Jane combines decades of financial services experience with a degree in social work and psychology to bring positive financial change to her client’s lives. She is a Partner Coach with the Wholistic Coaching Coalition and co-founded the Build Your Own Business networking group. Jane can be reached via email at


Life Lessons Learned at Paint Nite

Life Lessons Learned at Paint Nite

About a year ago a friend invited me to join her for a Paint Nite event. I had heard about these gatherings and had actually seen some finished projects on Facebook. I was impressed! However, the first thought that went through my head was, “I can’t paint. I would never be able to make something like that!”

In case you aren’t familiar with the concept, a Paint Nite works like this…a group of people get together, usually at a bar or restaurant, and over the course of about 2 hours they are guided step by step through the painting process. Everyone walks away with 16” x 20” canvas painting that has been modeled after the one the instructor brings.

Several years ago, I made the conscious decision to stop turning away from things that scared or intimidated me. My mantra was (and continues to be) feel the fear and do it anyway. This is how I practice courage. With this mantra in mind, I decided to say yes to the Paint Nite invitation. Here is a picture of my finished product 🙂 Paint Nite

That night I not only walked away with a painting I’m proud of, but I also walked away with some important life lessons that I’d like to share with you now.

Life Lesson #1 – Begin by beginning.
Honestly, the hardest part for me was putting the first stroke of paint on the canvas. My entire life I’ve wrestled with perfectionism and certainty. I wanted my picture to look just like the artist’s. I wanted to know that mine was going to turn out as good as the already completed painting she brought with her as an example. I wanted a gold star on my finished project. I was afraid to start because I didn’t want to fail, but that’s not feeling the fear and doing it anyway, so I grabbed the brush and began painting.

What I learned that night was that sometimes (dare I say most of the time) it’s impossible to predict the outcome of events with certainty. What I already knew, but needed to be reminded of, is that perfectionism is overrated and not helpful. Healthy striving is my goal, not perfectionism. Once its safe to leap, sometimes you just have to leap. There are many areas in my life where the lesson to begin by beginning applies. Blog writing, exercise, scrapbooking, clearing out my closet, and even things like difficult conversations that need to be had are a few areas that come to mind for me.

Life Lesson #2 – Permission slips work. Remember to use them!
One of the tools I use when working with coaching clients is permission slips. It comes from the Daring Greatly curriculum that is part of the certification I got based on the work of Brené Brown. The idea is to finish the statement…I give myself permission to ____________. Permission slips help me get clear about what’s holding me back and they help me show up more fully. During Paint Nite I gave myself permission to be disappointed in my final project, to be a beginner, and to have fun with my friends. As soon as I gave myself this permission everything changed. I was able to be in the moment with the painting. It was a fun night!

Life Lesson #3 – Be careful with comparison.
During my Paint Nite experience, I found myself looking not only at the instructor’s painting for reference, but also at the paintings of the people around me. There were times during the night that looking around gave me inspiration, but there were also times when looking around only made me feel like my painting wasn’t measuring up. There seems to be a tipping point for me.

What I learned that night is that comparison has two sides. There is the side that motivates and inspires me, like when I’m working out and I notice the person beside me really pushing herself and I think, I could try a little harder, and there is also the side that leads to feelings of not enough, like when I’m at a Paint Nite and I look at the masterpiece being created next to me and I think, Wow, my painting stinks!. Being careful to notice when comparison tips from inspiration to scarcity is something I need to be on the look out for on a regular basis.

Now it’s your turn…

If you’d like to learn your own life lessons, consider joining us on October 28th for Be Creative. The evening will be a blend of art project and life coaching. As Shari, our artist for the evening, leads you through the painting process, I will coach you on topics such as perfectionism, comparison, courage, and permission. You will walk away not only with a beautiful piece of art, but also with your own life lesson takeaways. For more information Click Here.
Register today as space is limited


Do you love your life? As a certified professional coach since 2009, Laura Hall has been helping people just like you make changes in. As a mother of 2 girls, Laura has a special interest in coaching parents, so if you still have children living at home, ask Laura about her Wholehearted Parenting programs. Laura can be reached via email at or feel free to visit her website



Be Courageous—Conquering Your (Business) Fears!

Be Courageous—Conquering Your (Business) Fears!

We are happy to welcome Kim Dow, our fabulous Wholistic Woman Alliance Partner, graphic designer, and today’s guest blogger as she shares what she learned at the Be Courageous Retreat.

I have a healthy fear of heights. It’s cool, I’m not afraid to admit it!

But, recently, I set a goal for myself and conquered that fear. I joined our client, Wholistic Woman Retreats, for their annual “Be Courageous” event at Upward Enterprises, a zip lining and ropes challenge course in Buckeystown, MD.

Amidst the zipping and free-fall swing fun, lay the “Leap of Faith” (possibly mistaken as the Leap of Death…but whatever). A towering site where you climb up a single telephone pole, using just small hooks to brace your feet and cling to with your hands. Once you reach the top, you have to maneuver yourself around on a small plateau to face yourself outwards. Then, you jump off the top of the pole, aiming for a trapeze hanging in mid air. No biggie, right? WRONG!

Holy. Crap. Despite having done this challenge once several years ago (or maybe because of it), and knowing that I was safely harnessed in…my heart was still beating, my legs were still shaking and my brain was still screaming at me “Abort, Abort—We Are Up WAY Too High!” But, I kept my goal in mind and found the strength and inner will to keep climbing—to keep going for it and conquer the fear.

This experience is no different than what we face as entrepreneurs. Business owners face many fears—fear of failure. Fear of where your next job or payment will come from. Fear of change. Fear of not being able to pay your employees or yourself. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of the unknown. I think it’s safe to say that starting and owning your own business can, at times, be downright scary. But, you always have to try and overcome those fears—sometimes even embracing them—and keep moving forward to your end goal(s). To continuously push yourself and to keep moving forward, knowing those fears and the risks are just a part of the journey.

For me, back on that 20-something high (okay, so I don’t really know how high it was, but let me tell you when you’re at the top of it, it feels twice as high as it looks!) it wasn’t the jumping off part that was the scariest. It was the climb. Especially when I was almost at the very top…that was the hardest part. And isn’t that the same with our business as well? It’s the planning, the strategizing, all the hard work that leads us to that “top” (whatever point or end goal that may be for you). Once you’ve made that climb, it almost seems easy to take that final “Leap of Faith” and jump off!

And hey, it’s okay if you have to take a break on the way up—catch your breath, gather your thoughts, adjust your climbing strategy. But, just be sure to keep climbing, because it’s worth it!

Another important aspect of my Leap of Faith experience was the positive encouragement and cheering received from all those watching (and the fact that I, in turn got to cheer others on when my turn was over). The encouraging, supportive words truly made it easier to keep going! And I believe this is also a very important aspect of entrepreneurship. Surround yourself with supportive friends, family and colleagues—it definitely can make a huge difference, especially when you doubt yourself!

Clive with the Leap of FaithA special thank you to Wholistic Women Retreats and the coaches who plan this amazing event each year. And another huge thanks to Clive Felgate and his amazing team at Upward Enterprises. I can’t wait for next year’s adventure!

Kim Dow is owner of Kalico Design, a creative and wholistic graphic design firm in Frederick, Md. You can learn more about Kim and her company by visiting

Thank you to Mary Kate McKenna Photography for great shots of this fun event!


Being Brave…Ready, Set, Go!

Being Brave…Ready, Set, Go!

Harnessed by strong cables, I found myself in an unusual position high in the trees… facing upwards and glimpsing patches of blue sky.  A team of eight women had pulled me into this position and awaited  my decision to release the cord which would drop me into a free-fall  swing through the tree tops. Butterflies swirled in my stomach and  my breathing grew rapid as I allowed myself to fully experience this  strange suspension in the air. Time felt suspended, too, as I savored  this momentary mixture of calm and electrifying anticipation.

 Encouragement from the women below wafted up to my ears and I  knew I had the full support of my team. “You can do it!” and “Go for  it!” let me know that they believed in me. They saw the courage and trust that it took to climb into this precarious position and knew the important role that they played in providing support as I took this well-calculated risk. I had given encouragement to them when they had been in this position and now it was my turn to receive it.

I held my breath for a moment, then with the thought Here goes, I pulled the cord. My body dropped several feet and the industrial-sized cables caught my weight and safely sent me soaring through the tree tops. A scream of excitement escaped my lips, followed by loud whoops of joy, as I swung back and forth high above the people cheering below. I felt like a school-girl as my legs pumped to keep the swinging movement going as long as possible before my turn ended.

When I came to a stop, I descended the ladder with a mile-wide grin and received hugs and pats-on-the-back as my team congratulated me. I enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that flowed from overcoming something that scared me.

You see, earlier that day I was uncertain if I would actually do the free-fall swing. It was similar to how I had felt about doing the zip line several years ago when it was first offered at a Wholistic Woman Retreat. With team support I had overcome that fear and had enjoyed the thrill of zip line rides several times since then. I had learned to love it. In a similar way, I decided to do the swing after watching other women successfully do it. I was so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and experienced it with this fun and supportive group of women.

What does it take for you to be brave and overcome your fears? Do you need the support and encouragement of others? Does it help to see other people going first so that you can observe the challenge before you step into it yourself? Do you want to know that it’s okay to express yourself in whatever way you need to… whether that means screaming, cursing, crying, or laughing? Do you need information to know that you are safe? What helps you to be courageous?

The truth is that we face our fears every day. Some of us are dealing with frightening medical diagnoses, wayward children, conditional love, issues with spouses, financial instability, loneliness, changing circumstances, crime, war, and the list goes on and on. How do we find the courage to face these challenges?

I’d like to suggest these three steps:

Identify the fear. This step is hard because it feels vulnerable to admit that we are afraid. However, it’s crucial that we name what scares us in order to begin releasing the hold it has over us.

Have a support team. Surround yourself with people who you trust and who are modeling brave behavior. They will inspire you to be more courageous and will applaud both your major and minor accomplishments.

Take small steps. Bravery grows every time you do something that scares you. For some of us that may be speaking in public, publishing a book, or trying a new physical challenge….our fears vary and are as unique as our fingerprints. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Not to frighten yourself but to grow more confident and skillful at overcoming whatever is holding you back. Develop courage and resilience by facing and navigating your fears one small step at a time.

What step will you take today to practice being brave?

An Invitation:

On the evening of July 15th, at the Be Courageous Retreat from 5:30-8:30 pm, women will have the opportunity to Zip, Swing, and Leap out of their comfort zone.

Now that I’ve mastered my fear of the zip line and swing I look forward to doing them again for fun. This year I am anticipating the opportunity to do a new challenge: The Leap of Faith – jumping from the top of a telephone pole to a trapeze bar while attached to a safety line. I’m not sure if I’m going to do it yet and trust that I will make that decision when I’m there. Whether I am cheering others on or receiving support as I take the leap, I will be fully present and engaged with the experience. Either way will be fine. One of the things I love about this community of women is the permission to be myself. I am good enough just as I am, and so are you.

If you would like to try one, two, or all three of these physical challenges with the support of an encouraging group of women who are practicing being brave, then register by July 10th to secure your spot and plan to join us for a picnic dinner afterwards to celebrate your accomplishment!

Details and registration here.

Click here if you want to see two short videos of Coach Carol’s free-fall swing and the team support afterwards.


Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is a speaker, author, and coach specializing in strengths-based leadership development. She is also co-founder of Wholistic Woman Retreats which offers fun, enriching, and supportive events for women-on-the-grow. Write to her at or visit her website: for more information about her speaking and coaching services.


The Hot Potato of Negative Thoughts

Are you in control of your thoughts or do your thoughts control you?

I have long believed that we, as human beings, aren’t in control of much, but one thing we can most certainly control is our thoughts. A quick google search on books on this included titles such as “Change your Thoughts, Change Your Life” by Wayne Dyer, “Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow” by Karen Casey, “The Weight Loss Mindset: 10 Thoughts that are Keeping You Fat” by Sarah Patterson, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life” by Daniel G. Amen, and the list could go on and on.

For me, the real question is not IF we can control our thoughts, but rather, HOW? How do we change our thoughts? Especially those really pesky thoughts that are holding us back in some way and keeping us from being all we are meant to be and do all the things we are meant to do. It’s one thing to subscribe to the belief that we are in control of our thoughts; it’s something all together different to put it into action. A couple years ago I went to see Eckhart Tolle speak and he was asked a question about how to let go of negative thought patterns. His answer was….you simply drop it, just like you’d drop a hot potato. After you drop it, if you find yourself holding it again you just drop it again. At the time, I didn’t find that answer very helpful. I wanted a more detailed answer with specific steps. What I know now is simple is better. I’ve been practicing dropping unwanted thoughts like hot potatoes, and guess what….It works!

Here’s a little story about how I recently dealt with one of those pesky little….OK, pesky big unwanted thoughts. If I was giving it a title, it would be “Dental Phobia: True Confessions from the Wife of a Dentist”.

As a child, I can’t remember one single dentist appointment where I didn’t have a least one cavity. I would brush my teeth regularly. I would use the little red tablets that would show you where you weren’t brushing effectively enough and focus on those areas. I would rinse with nasty tasting Listerine – the one in the brown bottle that would come wrapped in paper. It was horrible! I was determined that my next visit would be cavity free, but to no avail. What made it worse is that my brother had no where near the oral hygiene that I did, but he would show up cavity free. As a result I grew to dread going to the dentist. Everything about it made me anxious. The smell of the office – that mixture of cleaning products and burning teeth, the cheezy Muzak that did nothing to soothe my young soul, the sticky vinyl of the chairs of torture all contributed to my absolute terror.

Fast forward to my college years. It was during this time that I met my husband. He was a biology major. You can do a million things with a biology major. Of course he picked the one career path that had I known that was where his biology degree was going to take him, I would have gone running in the complete opposite direction. You guessed it…He became a dentist. I now had a problem! I was in love with Bill Hall, but he was becoming the thing I feared the most. How did I handle it you ask, I pushed the scary thoughts about dentists under the rug and tried to remind myself that he loved me and wasn’t going to hurt me. I know in those early days, I was a nightmare of a patient to him. My fear caused me to over manage him when I was in the dental chair…”don’t do that”, “let me sit up for a minute”, “I hate that flavor of flouride”…blah,blah,blah! I was a chronic complainer at the dentist office. I was the person Lisa talked about in her blog last week. (Click here if you missed it) I didn’t like who I was in that environment. It was clear to me that my thoughts and fears were bringing out a side of me that I didn’t like. Then I remembered that I believe I am in control of my thoughts and decided to do something about them.

At my last visit, Bill told me that a lot of my fillings were getting old and were in need of being replaced. I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to practice dropping the hot potato of negative thoughts about dental treatment. What I found was that it was easier to drop the negative thoughts when I could replace them with a different thought. “This is going to hurt” became “I’ve had 2 natural childbirths…I can handle this” or “It’s just a sensation”. What I found was that there wasn’t any pain. My brain was telling me that dental procedures are painful but the truth is, it wasn’t.

It was also interesting to observe how my body responded to my thoughts. About every 30 seconds, I noticed that my fists were clenching and my shoulders were tense. As soon as I noticed that, I would just remind myself to “relax”. I would try to slow down my breathing and let my body melt into the comfortable chair (NOT the chair of torture!).

This experience took a lot of focus on my part. My old thought patterns came automatically; the new ones took a lot of energy. By the end of the visit, I was exhausted, but I felt good about practicing being in control of my thoughts. I trust that just like building a muscle, the more I practice this, the easier it’s going to get.

So in answering the question of how do we change our thoughts? Here is what I observed in hindsight:

1.  Awareness – notice the thoughts that are holding you back

2.  Decide; make a conscious choice to change them

3.  Replace old thought with new thoughts

4.  Pay attention to your body; sometimes it speaks first

5.  Repeat this process – moment by moment if necessary

The moral of the story for me is that what you think matters. Look at the areas of your life that you’d like to see changes in and work on changing your thoughts.

Over here at Wholistic Woman Retreats we are getting ready for our annual zip line retreat event. As I’ve been talking to women about joining us, I’ve run into a few people who say, “Oh, I could never do that!”. If that is you, I’d like to challenge you to consider giving it a try. It is really very easy, just ask Carol deLaski’s 80 something year old mother who has joined us on several occasions. Stop telling yourself your can’t and start telling yourself you can. What you think matters! You can find details on how to register by clicking here.


Today’s author: Laura Hall is an iPEC certified life coach whose business, Hall Coaching, was established in 2009 with the vision of waking women up from the nightmares of “How did I get here?” and, “Is this as good as it gets?”, so that they can begin creating and living the life of their real dreams, hopes and desires. She offers both one on one as well as group coaching services. She can be reached at or check out her website at