• Chele Howell

If we don't give ourselves down time to care for our own needs, we will pay the price.

Today I listened to a startling TED Talk by Matt Williams, "Sleep is Your Superpower." I learned that the price we pay for not getting enough sleep takes years off our lives, causes short term memory problems that can become very serious, significantly depresses our immune systems, and even affects our DNA. All of our systems, mind and body, are restored during sleep.

Not getting enough sleep, or rest, is not something to take lightly. And it's even more important in this time of COVID-19. I was awakened to this fact when my daughter tested positive, and then after a couple of nights of staying up too late--in spite of my careful precautions--I began experiencing symptoms myself. My lack of sleep made me more vulnerable. No amount of taking the right supplements, eating right, hand-washing, and other precautions can make up for a lack of sleep.

It can be hard to give ourselves permission to take the time to give our bodies rest. But rest and recovery is some of the most important self care we can ever do.

We've been programmed in our society to think that our worth comes from DOING.

This is absolutely NOT TRUE.

Our worth is simply because we ARE.

It took me getting sick with adrenal fatigue and being in bed for the better part of 18 months before I could slow down and recognize this fact, and truly begin to learn the value of REST AND RESTORE.

Just as in weight lifting, the gains do not happen during the DOING--that is actually when things are broken down. It is only in the REST AND RESTORE phase that we actually get stronger.

And so it is with life.

Even Jesus took time for himself, time to be alone, to rest and to pray. He knew this was vital if he was to have anything to give to others.

He taught us to "love your neighbor as yourself." Implicit in this teaching is that we must love and care for our SELF.

So when you are taking care of YOU, there is no need to make excuses. You do not owe anyone an apology. You are not doing anything wrong. You are doing exactly what is most important.

We cannot survive unless we learn to put on our own oxygen mask first. And we cannot thrive, and create a life of meaning, purpose and JOY unless we first take care of our own needs--physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Only then will we have the ability to truly give of ourselves, to share the marvelous gifts that each and every one of us has been given with those around us, and make the world a better place.

#youmatter #Loveyourself #selfcare #yourhappinessmatters

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I've given these words of Marianne Williamson a great deal of thought and consideration over the past few years. They've had a tremendous impact on how I'm experiencing my life, who I'm becoming, and the effect I'm able to have on those within my sphere of influence. They've led me to really ponder about what it is that I have to offer the world, and whether my not believing in myself, my playing small, might actually be an act of selfishness. A radical idea? Perhaps. Or maybe a flash of inspiration. Her words have led me to seriously think about--and even pray about--what my gifts are, what I'm meant to do with them, how this might give greater meaning to my life, and even bring greater joy to myself and others.

So often I think what we're really afraid of is that we might be successful, and that we won't know how to handle it, so we're afraid to give it our all. At least I think that's been true for me. But the truth is, as children of God, every one of us has all we need within us, and sometimes we just need to learn to trust in ourselves a little more.

When I began to have faith that I actually had the ability within me to receive the inspiration I needed for my own life, for my own problems--that I no longer needed to look to someone else to validate me and give me the answers--a huge shift began to take place within me. Suddenly, a whole new world of self worth and belief in myself opened up! With a new confidence in myself, I became freed from reliance on others thoughts, opinions and solutions. Now, when I would reach out to those I knew could help me, it was in a completely different way than I had previously, finally seeing them as consultants and not as saviors.

I think it was then that I began to really start to be able make a difference in my world and have a more significant positive impact on those around me. I believe that's what Marianne Williamson means later in this quote when she says that by letting our light shine, we give others permission to do the same.

You've probably heard it before, but here's the whole quote: "“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

I would invite us to give these words some serious thought. To call on our courage. To take just one step outside our comfort zone, and then another, and then another, just one little step at a time. To reach deep inside ourselves and discover the strength and beauty and light that is ALREADY there, just waiting to be accessed and nurtured and shared with others. Each time we do something to stretch ourselves, our comfort zone then grows to accommodate this new, higher version of ourselves. We don't have to take a big, terrifying leap (although sometimes that first baby step may feel that way--and that's okay). Growth happens little by little. Sometimes it's almost imperceptible, but that doesn't make it any less real. It takes a long time for an acorn to become a mighty oak. Over time, you will see the rewards of your efforts.

And who knows? You just might find that light within you growing brighter as you give it space to grow. And as you share it. You just might find it illuminating your OWN life a little more. Just maybe, you'll find that as your example gives a little more courage to others, and as THEIR lights begin to shine a little brighter, that the world begins to be a brighter place, the ripples spread outward, and you find yourself experiencing a little more JOY and PURPOSE. The cumulative effects can be profound!

Every effort we make to allow our light shine today, however small, (and however scary) can make a difference for us and for the people around us, and I believe that's a risk worth taking!



#makeadifference #believeinyourself


  • Chele Howell

Sometimes, we have to let go of the story of what we thought something would look like and find joy and purpose in how it's unfolding now.

Today, I'm sad to announce that I'm rescheduling my re-visioned, local "Lift Your Spirits!" retreat to March 20. I simply didn't allow for adequate time to get the word out, and it wasn't enough notice for people to plan for.

But in all that has unfolded, miracles have taken place, and if you'll indulge me, I'd like to share the story with you.

I don't like winter very much. Sure, there are things about it that I love--like watching big, fluffy snowflakes falling, or snuggling by the fire with a bowl of freshly buttered popcorn, a mug of hot cocoa and a good book.

But I really, really don't like being cold. And I REALLY don't like driving on snowy, icy roads. But worst of all, when the days shorten and the world turns dark and cold, I get depressed. I lose my motivation. Sometimes I just don't even want to get out of my warm, cozy bed.

I've dealt with depression much of my life, and I've gotten help with that, and it's much better now. But a few years ago I became aware that I ALSO dealt with SEASONAL depression, and began seeking tools to help me through it--and winter has become a LOT easier for me. (But I still don't like to be cold!)

So as excited as I am to share my Women's Mountain Recharge Retreats, I had NO desire to go out in the cold and do a winter one!!

But last fall, it dawned on me that BECAUSE of this seasonal depression, I have tools to share that can help others who struggle--and so I DID in fact need to hold a WINTER "Lift Your Spirits!" Mountain Recharge Retreat, where I would share those tools. Dang!!

So I scheduled it. I booked the perfect place. I planned nourishing and nurturing self-care options. I found an AMAZING massage therapist, Melissa Goldsmith, to join my team. I had someone coming to feed us delicious, homemade comfort foods. I began advertising. The whole works.

Then, as covid cases began to head upward in our area, I came to the realization that there are women struggling with seasonal depression who are ALSO dealing with fear (around the pandemic as well as other events) that is exacerbating their struggle. And that they need the tools I have to share.

At the same time, my dear friend and mentor, Naomi Jones, decided to open up Insight Yoga--the perfect space for holding a single-day, local retreat with safety protocols, that would make it possible to share my tools with more women who need them.

This led me to completely re-vision the retreat. I re-planned the retreat and how I would share my tools in this new setting. I completely re-did my marketing. And in the process, I reached new people, made new friends, received new inspiration.

It also led me to craft ways to share these tools over zoom, so that I can also help those who aren't comfortable meeting in person at all right now, or who aren't in my area.

As the inspiration for each step came to me, I knew it was the next right step for me to take. It gave me purpose, motivation, and joy, and kept me up and going through the wintry days of January. And it continues to motivate me and draw me forward, almost like a magnet, into and through February, which is normally a pretty bleak month for me.

Sometimes, we are led in a certain direction not because that's what needs to happen, but simply because it will give us growth and learning experiences that will prepare us for opportunities further down the path.

After my retreat last September, I was excited and ready to hold more Mountain Recharge Retreats. I wasn't thinking about creating local offerings. It hadn't even occurred to me that I might one day create an online, small-group Joyfulness Mentoring program.

Yet because of all that has transpired since last fall, here we are!!

So now, while I'm sad to not be holding an experiential, connecting-in-person retreat tomorrow, I'm also incredibly grateful for many small miracles that have taken place along the way, and have led me to expand my offerings in ways that will help SO MANY more people than I could just doing 2 or 3 small mountain retreats each year!!

And I'm excited to say that in the very near future, you will be seeing my announcements of FREE "Lift Your Spirits!" and "Finding Your Joy" interactive zoom webinars, online small-group Joyfulness Mentoring, and more upcoming local retreats, as well as spring and summer Women's Mountain Recharge Retreats!!

And so, today I am filled with hope, grateful for the wisdom that allows me to accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what can be, knowing that even in the midst of struggle, (and sometimes even because of it!) there is SO MUCH goodness yet to come!!

#liftyourspirits #takecareofyou #believeinyourself

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