I hope this finds you well and you are enjoying the first signs of spring. I love all the seasons, and what I love about spring is the possibility of new growth and emergence. Talking of new growth, I have been spending a lot of my energy on developing the experience of retreat as part of a new venture - Chrysalis Retreats - with my co-founder Rachel. We held our first retreat in January of this year, and it was a great experience.
Our next residential retreat will be in March 2023 - I know that seems a long way off, but one very practical reason for the timing is that Rachel is having a baby this summer and needs some time off. We also think it gives us time to explore the concept of pausing and taking retreats in different ways, and to build connections with like minded women, whether or ot they join us in Cumbria for our residential retreat next year.
It's a journey that I am going to enjoy, and live the values of what the retreat means to me. Plenty of time for reflection and clarifying my thinking, being at ease in creating new concepts, and finding the joy in reaching out to other women on the way.
So this month, instead of my usual Coaching Companion I am going to share some blogs from Chrysalis Retreats that I think you will find interesting. If you like them, then please join our list of subscribers to get them directly and hear more about what we are doing to create new retreat experiences. You can do this from Chrysalis Retreats website:
Here at Chrysalis Retreats our vision is to support women to take a pause and reflect at key moments in our lives and clarify what’s important as we move forward. We recognize that women face specific challenges in life and in work that show up in times of transition or uncertainty, and we are here to guide and support women on their personal journey. Our retreats are designed to allow spacious time for reflection, to learn from each other and experience the joy of being in nature.
What better day to launch our new blog than today – International Women’s Day 2022. A day to celebrate women and their achievements. We want to celebrate you, and the women you know on this special day, as well as acknowledging the challenges that women still face in the world.
You will be hearing from us regularly on a range of issues to expand your perspective on what retreat means for you. We want to share our thoughts with you as we explore the qualities of retreat and how we can support you and other women to value this time to pause in new and different ways. We will share resources and ideas with you and get to know each other on the way.
So read on and celebrate IWD with this blog from Caroline at Chrysalis Retreats!
Do we still need International Women’s Day?
It has been going for more than a century now, and much has been achieved through equalities legislation and changes in cultural attitudes towards women. So, do we still need a special day for women? I have been thinking back over even the last year and recall events that bring it home to me that there is still much to be done. The oppression of girls in Afghanistan denied their education, the murder of Sarah Everard and hundreds more women who are victims of domestic abuse murdered by men, and the worsening position for women in the gender pay gap and the challenges we still face at work, especially women of colour, to name a few. That is why the IWD 2022 campaign theme is #BreakTheBias
Imagine a gender equal world.
A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Together we can forge women's equality.
Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
We still need to #BreakTheBias, not just today, but every day.
Here is Rachel on the Manchester Women’s Walk and me with my suffragette scarf :-)
Celebrating the women of Ukraine
I have been thinking a lot over the last week about the courage of the women in Ukraine. Women who chose to stay, to abandon their normal lives to do something entirely different and previously unthought of. Students, grannies, ballerinas, teachers…turning their hands to making Molotov cocktails and making borscht to support the fighters. I admire their courage, their passion and heartfelt love for their country and their surety that theirs is the right decision for this time. I wonder about the way such decisions are reached. Did they take a pause, even a micro-pause, to completely change their life in the face of unprecedented danger and crisis? Such decisions are made fast, there isn’t time to weigh up options and consequences, My guess is that they are decisions of the heart, and in that fight or flight moment, these women chose fight. Who knows what each of us would do in the same situation? My heart goes out to them, and all women of Ukraine today, to celebrate their response, and to acknowledge their suffering.
Sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine
The power of taking a pause to reflect – even a micro-pause
Fortunately, most of us don’t have to make life or death decisions very often. But many of us do move without conscious thought from one thing to another, or keep going with something even if we are getting nowhere, or we ruminate for ages over something without progress. Here is a quick way of breaking the thought cycle that you can do anytime. Originally introduced to prevent eyestrain at the computer screen, a micro break can be great for making a shift and refreshing energy.
Every 20 minutes, move at least 20 feet away from your desk and look out of the window for 20 seconds. Just look and notice what is there – people, animals, cars, trees, colours, shapes and if you can, listen to the sounds outside.
Do you have your own ideas to take a micro break? I would love to know what they are, let me know in the comments.
Feminist achievement is complicated…
I was away at the weekend in North Norfolk, walking and doing a bit of birdwatching as well as just chilling out. I pick up this book by Tessa Boase in an RSPB giftshop.
Rachel had been reading it earlier this year and she pointed out that the RSPB had been set up by a woman, Etta Lemon. Who knew? I certainly did not. The RSPB campaigns not just to protect birds, but all natural habitats and is very aligned to addressing climate change. That is quite a legacy for a woman about whom we really know very little. I am looking forward to reading more, and already I have discovered something else. Etta Lemon was completely at odds with a feminist we have all heard of – Emmeline Pankhurst, suffragette and women’s rights campaigner. She objected to the signature feathers that Emmeline and her followers wore on their hats, which not only caused cruelty to birds, but exploited hundreds of poor women in the harsh feather industry in England. This conflict brought back the brilliant talk hosted last July by Queen Bee Coaching, where Rachel and I also offer pro bono coaching, by the author Helen Lewis. You can see the video recording of this here. Helen reminds us that battles are difficult, and so are some of the women who fight them. We cannot assume that women who achieve great things for women always see things the same way or will support other women’s causes. An uncomfortable truth that reminds us that we are diverse human beings, and this too is cause for celebration.
Today I am celebrating all the women in my life..
Women in my family – especially my daughters who both work in the NHS and I am incredibly proud of what they do.
My friends and coaches in my networks for their ongoing support
Women from history who have achieved great things to support women Women I don't know from across the world who are working towards a brighter future for women and girls
And especially the women I coach and have coached – you are all doing amazing things to change your services, your communities, and the world in your own ways.
I invite you to take time pause and reflect on the women who inspire you to celebrate them fully:
· Who are they?
· What qualities do they demonstrate that you want to celebrate?
· What have they achieved that you want to celebrate?
· What can you learn from them?
· Can you connect to them to share your celebration? If that’s not possible in real life, then can you hold them in your mind and share your celebration with them with compassionate thought?
That’s all for now!
I hope you have enjoyed my musings on International Women’s Day. It would be great to know how you celebrated the day, and any other celebrations of women you have taken part in this month. If you enjoyed reading this blog, please share with others and spread the word. We are all about women supporting women and keen to connect with other like-minded women.
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