My Inner Teenager, the Life Coach + A Retreat

This is the teenager I’m becoming now that I’m 50.

Laura Kuffner, a brilliant student at our school, created the illustrations for an online course I’m working on. In our discussion of what I was looking for, we looked at Annosha Syed’s series of illustrations of what Disney heroines would look like as 21st century teens/young adults. Laura then illustrated me in this same style.

This is a selfie of my soul.

I love that I’m looking out with confidence and determination. I also dig that my belly is showing. Going through my coaching program helped me connect with my divine badass even though I was NOT this girl as an actual teenager.

At sixteen, I worked hard to make a lot of other people happy. Myself? Not so much.

I was committed to following the rules as I understood them. I was to be the responsible Eldest daughter, earn great grades, become Student Council President, and receive awards and scholarships. I kept this checklist in my brain and I moved through my life checking off the boxes as if it were my religion.

When people said hurtful things to me, when they told me who I should be and how I should act, I did not speak up. I had no sense of where I ended and where they began and, therefore, I had no boundaries. I was filled with fear and did not recognize my own power.

What’s worse, I didn’t even know who I was. I was very rarely my full self (the self that is loud and joyful and loves to swear like a sailor) as I was too worried that these behaviours did not match the person I was supposed to be.

The teenager I started becoming in my late 40s understands that she can define success for herself. She can step away from everyone else’s ladders and crazy-striving. She can chill out. She has access to all of her emotions ~ the lovely ones and the painful ones. All of it. She loves to dance. She raps pure love. She craves joy. She wants to help other people as her truest self.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m channeling the awesome superpowers of my inner teenager and bringing all my gifts to my work and to my play. What I’ve discovered is that whenever I write a love letter to myself, I write one to you too.

What does your inner teenager crave?

What does she urge you to do, to learn, to create? Perhaps, like me, this is not the teenager you were but the defiant and amazing young woman you can feel pulsating and break-dancing inside you… the one who has her whole life in front of her.

Because we still do… have our whole lives in front of us.

The people I’m coaching are creating creative courses, they are finding their purpose and also learning not to worry about the question of purpose, they are setting out on travels for which their heart has been yearning, they are finding happiness in ordinary things (which are, of course, also extraordinary things), they are adopting babies, they are returning to life coaching and they are writing poems, stories and books. They are learning how to be gentler and kinder with their inner everything. They are finding their way back to themselves.

Life Coach Certification

Although I’m a long way from done with my gorgeous teenage rebellion, on Tuesday 9th May I was certified as a Life Coach. That means that I get to hang out a little sign that says Martha Beck Certified Life Coach. For me, my certification symbolizes the journey from one of the darkest periods of my life to the absolute lightest. It confirms my impulse to trust myself.

Certification feels like a graduation for the self who didn’t have good boundaries. It’s a mirror for the lovely one who couldn’t see herself. It’s a line drawn elegantly in the sand. It’s a parade with trombones, penguins, red velvet cupcakes and angels flying overhead. (It’s true… I never met a metaphor I didn’t like.)

I thought you’d want to know.

The Writer’s Retreat at Casa Limon

If your inner teenager (or your inner Wise Woman) has been urging you to write, here’s something lovely for you.

For four days in August, I’m hosting a small group of writers (6-8) at our yellow house in Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia. All you need is an idea for a writing project (poetry, non-fiction or fiction) and a desire to work with a small group of writers in a super-supportive setting.

{Top left: our house. Top right: Damien Pitter and Monna McDiarmid, Christmas in Blue Rocks, 2016. Bottom Left: the blue rocks + sea in Blue Rocks. Bottom right: our studio}

Here are the answers to some of the questions you might have:

When does the magic happen?
Thursday 3rd August – Sunday 6th August 2017. We’ll work together from 8:30ish until 4:30ish each day.

Where will the retreat be held?
We’ll work and play at our house in the fishing village of Blue Rocks, a ten-minute drive from the town of Lunenburg, a UNESCO world heritage site. During writing times, each writer will find her own writing space in our house, on the deck, or in our studio.

Where will I stay?
You’ll book your own Air B&B, B&B or hotel in Blue Rocks, nearby Lunenburg (10 minutes away) or in the city of Bridgewater (about 30 minutes away). When people register, I’ll send some especially yummy accommodation + restaurant recommendations from our Nova Scotia friends and neighbours.

Are meals included?
Each day (Thursday thorough Sunday) we’ll provide a light breakfast and a gorgeous lunch made with local food including cheese, bread and produce from the Lunenburg Farmer’s Market. Damien will be our chef.

What will a retreat day look like?
Each day we’ll toggle back and forth between learning, writing and sharing. We’ll focus on the following six topics:
1. Fear, Rebelliousness and Ease
2. The relationship between your writing routine and flow
3. Developing your voice
4. Writing Structure
5. Description and Metaphor
6. Celebration

Are there any yummy extras included in this retreat?
Heck, yes!
* Each participant will have an hour-long coaching session with me before, during or after the retreat. You’ll choose when you’d like to have the call and what you’d like us to focus on.
* A walk by the sea just five minutes from our house. The scenic village of Blue Rocks is a photographer’s dream. Bring your camera or i-Phone.
* Master class with Damien Pitter, partner, chef and MFA in Creative Writing from UBC
* A photographic portrait of the writer (that’s you!) taken by Monna

What’s the investment?
You’ll pay 800 CDN dollars for this four-day retreat. (Yes! That’s Canadian dollars.)

What’s the closest airport?
Halifax Stanfield International Airport is a 90-minute drive from our house.

Do I need a car?
Yes. There’s no public transportation between Halifax and the South Shore (Bridgewater/Lunenburg/Blue Rocks). Cars can be rented at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

What does “Casa Limon” mean?
Casa Limon is “yellow house” in Spanish. It’s pronounced ka-sa lee-moan. Damien and I lived in Spanish speaking countries for eleven years.

Please email me at monnamcd at gmail dot com with your questions or interest.

The Retreat page is coming soon.

With much teenage-certification-writing love,

Note: This piece was first published as The Sunday Reader. If you’d like to receive these letters, sent every second Sunday, directly in your email inbox, you can subscribe here.

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