Welcome to the Vision Quest Chronicles from Nicole Cutts


If you are a woman pursuing your Vision on the Heroine’s Quest join our tribe at the Vision Quest Retreats face book page

If you are a Woman Business Owner come play with us every Wed. at Women Owned Business Wednesdays; a 24 Hr Happy Hour where you meet cool people and win cool stuff!

I hope you enjoy the blog and vlog posts below and leave some comments.

Much Continued Success & Well Being, xxoo Nicole

Nicole Cutts, Ph.D., CEO Cutts Consulting, LLC & Founder Vision Quest Retreats

 

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Writing Retreat/Shell Collecting Adventure Part 4


After my spotty morning of writing my trip to Lambert’s Cove was divine. I braved a swim in the icey water and am glad that I did. Once in it wasn’t so bad and this time the water was largely free of jelly fish. I swam pretty far out and floated on my back then played around a bit in the clear water. I always think of Mami Wata and my connection to her and her sisters when I have the joy of getting in the water. As long as I am connected to the sea I am connected to her.

lamberts cresting hillAfter my swim I lay on my towel to warm up. The sun was not very hot but it was hot enough to warm and dry me and make me happy. I left the beach around 4:30. Once back in Vineyard Haven I went for a walk along the main road to town to Owen Little park and down to the harbour. My online research in the morning had not turned up a nautical term; a part of a sail boat,  I needed for the book so I figured I could find someone at the docks to ask. The one sailor I found was unsure but he gave me a term I could start with. The lighting over the harbor at this time was enchanting and showed off the beauty of the boats moored there.

Lamberts empty rock under waterI climbed the hill back to Main St. then made my way back to the house. After my desperate attempts (that yielded very little), to get some grapes that were very high up I moved on to shell processing. I had soaked my latest batch of acquired quahogs and it was time for the gruesome task of getting the flesh off of them. This I did squating over the bucket in the backyard with my toothbrush (no not the one I put in my mouth!) before soaking them in a bleach solution. This batch was pretty grimey and since the outside of the shell is a part of the aesthetics of the jewelry I wanted them to be free of dirt and stains.

Jelly on beachAfter shell processing I took a lovely hot shower. There is nothing like a shower after the beach and a swim in the ocean and I scrubbed myself extra well lest I smell clamy! After shower, dinner, reading IMG_3587(Ernest Hemingway’s Over the River and Into the Trees) I drifted off to sleep, perchance to dream.

 

Owen Little smaller

 

 

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The Road of Trials: Part 3 Writing Retreat/Adventure 2014

Sunday Sept. 14: As the famed bard Ice Cube would say “today was a good day.” That being said it was not without its tests. I was reminded by my cousin (who by the way has hero with a thousand facesgraciously loaned me her home for this retreat) of some trials I faced while on the journey here. She has encouraged me to relate those as well as today’s trials and tribulations. “Can you just have tribulations or do they always have to come with trials?” (Hannibal Buress) She also reminded me that “it’s about the journey.” So here goes…

As I type this I have been waiting for AAA since 3:30 this afternoon. It is now almost 6:00 and the sun is beginning to set.  My car is completely dead.  The air is a chilly 63 degrees and dropping. Luckily I do have food. I am reminded of the first of the five stages in phase two of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth or Hero’s Journey; The Road of Trials. The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the heroine must undergo to begin her transformation. These trials often show up in threes. Perhaps in today’s modern world these tests can show up as car trouble. Anyhoo today is not the first day of this trouble. Let me take you back to a week and a day ago.

Trial #1: Saturday Sept. 6. I left home in the early hours of the morning and was making very good time (read driving kinda fast) and by 9:00 a.m. was on the New Jersey Turnpike. I’m crusing along in the NJTPfar left lane when I look up to see a white police SUV right behind me. I immediately slowed down and pulled smoothly over one lane to let the good officer pass.  This has happened before and I’ve been relieved when the po po speeds on but this time he stuck right on my bumper. This wasn’t looking good. I maintained my speed and prayed. When the blue and red lights came on I pulled over to the right shoulder immediately and waited. Cars were whizzing by as the officer approached my passenger window. The usual drill; asked for my license and registration. I’m not one to try and beg my way out of tickets but I did throw a little “May I ask you why you stopped me officer?” his way. He said he had “got” me on lazer back at exit 11 going some exhorbitant speed. I thought “I didn’t even see you.” and in my mind’s eye he had been parked on the side of the road in a median and seen me tear past. I made that face that says “Wow! really?! Was I going that fast?” knowing damn well I was.

storm trooperHe asked me if I had any tickets or violations in Maryland. Once I assured him my record was clean he seemed to pause to consider. I think it was at this point that I was supposed to ask for leniency based on my previous good behavior. I just looked at him and him at me before he said. “Where are you headed today?” It was at this point that I should have said something like “To Yonkers to visit my grandma in a hospice and she only has an hour to live.” But instead I casually said “Martha’s Vineyard.” At least I refrained from adding “and I’ve got a ferry to catch so can you hurry it up?” He stared at me for one more minute before saying dryly. “Sit tight I’ll try to get you out of here quickly.”

I turned the engine off to conserve gas while I waited. It actually didn’t take him that long. Returning to my car he handed me a white piece of paper and said. “This is a summons to princess leah in jailappear in court, but you don’t have to go because you live in MD but call this number here and they will tell you what to do.” When I tried to ask him how much it was he repeated that I should call the number, told me to “watch my speed” then beat a hasty get away. After he pulled off I unfolded the piece of paper searching for the fine amount. I saw it in tiny print $200?!! No wonder he wouldn’t answer my question and made a quick get away! He wasn’t trying to be there for the freak out. I took a couple breaths to calm myself before taking off again.

Trial #2: I turned the key in the ignition and only heard a clicking sound. NO!! I turned the key to the off position and took another breath. Maybe my energy and moving too quickly messed something up (this has happened before). Another breath, another try..click click click. My second thought was “that policeman sucked the life out of my battery!” After I got a hold of myself I figured out that I had left the lights on during my stop. I called the cavalry a.k.a. AAA. The third trial was a quick shot to the head when the dispatcher informed me that AAA does not service the NJTP. At this my stomach dropped as I saw all the cars zooming past and imagined myself having to flag someone down for help. I was mentally cursing the police out when I heard her say “They have their own service, I will connect you and they honor AAA.” Ok all hope was not lost. I sat waiting anxiously for the NJTP rescue vehicle to arive. My trip that had started out so cheerfuly was taking an ugly turn. I prayed that the guy would come soon so I could make my ferry and that when he did come it would just be the battery and not the alternator.

aztec warrior rescuing princessIn about 30 mins a nice man arrived in a white van. I told him of my plight; the cops, the dead car, the ferry I had to catch. He understood and acted quickly. In no time I was on the road again singing “On the Road Again.” I drove the speed limit and even made the earlier ferry. Things were looking up but I knew my battery was weak and still had to deal with this. On Sunday, once safely in my digs for the week I called AAA again and requested the battery service. They must not have understood me because they instead sent a clown. He was a font of misinformation and as useless as teats on a bull, claimed he couldn’t check the battery as the car was now starting! Told me he didn’t have my battery anyway and since it was starting to call if it stopped. Oh, okay, I guess I will just pray that my car doesn’t die on some remote road on the Vineyard with no cell service.

For a while after this the car was starting fine so I stopped worrying about it but starting a couple of days back it was turning over a bit slowly. This brings us to today. After a good morning of sleeping in and working on my first draft I set out on a few errands. I had to go up-island to get a stash of Chilmark Chocolates, then to Menemsha again to collect some stinky quahog shells (to be cleaned and used for wampum to make jewelry), pick up dinner at Net Result (yes clam chowder!) and get home in time for the Big Broadcast at 7:00 on WAMU. It was a gorgeous sunny day, a little cool but divine. I enjoyed the scenic country roads on the way to Chilmark. Chilmark Chocolates is only open Thurs-Sunday so today was the day. I joined the line on the little open porch and eagerly awaited my turn. I am not a big choco-head but my friend Andrea had told me about this place numerous times so when I was here in July/August I had gone there with Al. I repeat, I am not a big chocolate fan but this chocolate is GOOD, really the best I’ve ever had! (The place also has an intersting story and if you are interested you can read it here.) I left the store happy, one errand down, now on to Menemsha and my shells. I would not stop long because of course you do not want to leave chocolate in a hot car.

Chilmark ChocolateWhen I turned the key the car said “click click click” This time I was not shocked. I just said to myself “Well it lasted this long and I’m far from stranded.” I thought of calling AAA but knowing how long they can take and wanting to get home I asked for a jump which I received from a very nice couple; Claudia and dont’ know her hubby’s name. I got some tips from them on service stations in Vineyard Haven and took off. My first thought was “Don’t stop at Menemsha for shells, just keep driving.” but my second thought was “ah what the hell! Just don’t turn off the car and don’t take too long.” My good parking karma was in effect because I got a space close to the trash heap of shells. Leaving the engine running I grabbed my trusty orange bucket and headed for the pile. I didn’t have time to be super selective and only filled it less than half way, threw the bucket in the trunk and was off again. The scenery was lovely but I couldn’t enjoy it. Damn, I don’t remember the road from Menemsha to Vineyard Haven being so long!

clam arrangementFinally on the edge of town I pulled into the NAPA store, left it running again and went in. Told the big red faced guy behind the counter my story. He tested my battery, told me it was bad and that he had my battery but they don’t install them. I went out to the car to call AAA and ask for the REAL battery service this time. I stressed that to the lady “I want the REAL battery service, not the drunk bastard you sent Monday.” (didn’t actually say that last part) She assured me that the person coming could test my battery, starter, and alternator and give me a new battery if need be. She told me the guy had been dispatched and would be there in 90 mins of less. I took off again. The voice in my head, that sounds a lot like my mom’s, said “Nicky, go straight home and wait for AAA.” The other voice, the little devil voice that sounds just like mine said. “Oh you have time and you need to get dinner in the house in case the battery guy doesn’t come in time or in case it doesn’t work.” My mom’s voice broke in again. “Eat the kippers you brought. There is plenty of food in that house. You aren’t going to starve.” But my voice won with “But you don’t have clam chowder from Net Result.”

That said I raced to Net Result. The gods were with me because I was the only one going through 5 Corners (that never happens). Left car running in NR parking lot and went in. No one in line there either! I saw my Chilmark jumpers Colleen and don’t know his name and was like “Helloooo” They said “How’s the car?” I told them it was outside running but I was working on it. We wished each other well and I was off again. Monomyth graphic

Back to the present. As I type this the AAA guy has come and gone. I have a new battery and piece of mind that my car will make it the 8-9 hrs home. I’ve had some chowder, listened to my broadcast and am ready to chill! Oh yeah I forgot to mention that I got back home by 4:00 and parked the car to wait for the service truck. So yes today was a good day. I passed the tests on the road of trials and made it home with my boon, or should I say boons? Chocolate, Shells, and Chowder.

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Writing Retreat/Shell Collecting Adventure (cont.)

Friday September 12:

After a lovely time at the beach reading and collecting shells and rocks I resumed my hunt for Spisula solidissima a.k.a. the Atlantic surf clam. Following a tip earlier in the week I had headed down the state road leading to Aquinnah and taken Lobsterville Rd. to its end. My search that day did not turn up the large shells rumored to be there. I returned to the source and got more intel. Today, armed with this info, I would try again.

cliffs up close drift wood legs gay head light house from beach It was a gorgeous afternoon as I drove down the road that runs along the sea. I parked near the jetty at the bike ferry and grabbing my bucket trudged through the rough sand out to the stone jetty. On the other side of the second jetty I could see the crowd gathering on the beach at Menemsha to watch the sunset. A lone fisherman stood at the end of the jetty on my side which was peaceful. I looked around the beach expecting to see the tons of giant shells I had imagined. I saw none. I walked toward the water and looked in. Seeing different large spots of white I got excited but on closer inspection many were broken pieces of clam shell. They were large so I knew I was close. I realized I’d have to get in the water to find and collect the shells I sought. I took off my shorts and tied my tee shirt up. Doing my best Honey Rider impression I walked down into the cold clear water. I finally started to find them! Moving slowly  and unwilling to submerge my tee shirt in the water I used the toes on my right foot to pick up the shells before holding them in my left hand. (I was pretty pleased with myself.) I got a really good haul and also found some quahog shells.

clam bucketToday being Friday I was very excited as I headed back to Vineyard Haven. Today was Lobster Roll Day at the Grace Church! I parked and joined the other happy people skipping up the sidewalk to get theirs. I even sang a little lobster roll song on my way to and fro the church! After another lovely outdoor shower I consumed TWO lobster rolls and hit the hay early. Another fine day indeed.
I will leave you with this video taken where I found the Atlantic surf clam shells…

Saturday Sept. 13: GOOD NEWS! I finished the first draft of Book II of The Adventures of Isabelle: Journey to Orphalese!!! Although it did not seem like it to me I have been working on it for 4 yrs! Looking back over this chronicle I pretty much have only been able to get an appreciable amount of work done on it when on a retreat such as this one. (In the near future I look forward to bringing some of you on similiar retreats to work on your endeavors. So stay tuned.)PC with flowers

I have to say  writing does not exactly come easy for me and as I neared the end of the story my trepidation grew but I recall what my journalist friend and editor Tamara E. Holmes told me once “Just write. Get it down you can always edit later so don’t worry about it. Just nail yourself to the chair and write.” Nailing me to a chair is not unlike trying to nail Jello to a wall sometimes but even sort spurts in the chair before I would jiggle out produce work.

Seriously, if you could see me work it’s funny. I jump up at least every half an hour with some excuse or another; I gotta get a coffee, clean the floor, tend to my shells, call my mom, walk around the yard, lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling or as in JUST now, check out suspicious noises (it was the fridge, not to worry). I call this “my process” ha ha.flowers cropped

I didn’t leave the house today. After writing I did some light gardening, processed my clam shells (cleaning, sorting etc.) read, had lunch and dinner (chowder and lobster roll respectively) played Candy Crush, read some more and went to bed early, looking forward to sleeping in on Sunday morning. Today’s (Sunday’s) task is to fix holes I identified in the story before I left home and to fill out some scenes that are a bit thin or missing.

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Writing Retreat and Shell Collecting Adventure 2014

This travelogue chronicles my Sept., 2014 trip to Martha’s Vineyard. I have come away to continue work on Book II of the Adventures of Isabelle. I’ve also come in search of Mercenaria mercenaria (well really just their shells to increase my supply of quahog shells for wampum). Back home I’ve been working on jewelry inspired by Mami Wata and Imenja. You can see pics of the work HERE.  This travelogue will not be wordy. Pictures are the thing (and maybe even a video)

chillin at Lamberts Cove sundaySaturday Sept. 6: Arrived Vineyard Haven around 3:45. Spent rest of the day getting settled and sleeping as I’d driven about 9 hrs. Dinner, clam chowder and fried shrimp from the Net Result.

Sunday Sept. 7: Slept in, set up my writing area, set up hammock and chilled in it! Drove to Lambert’s Cove in the afternoon for beach chill and refreshing swim. Showered in outdoor shower as a treat to myself. Found Maya Angelou’s “Heart of a Woman” on the book shelf that night and started reading it.

Lamberts sunday

Lambert’s Cove

Monday Sept. 8: Awoke early to get to writing. Slow going this first day but labored on (oh the creative angst…ha!). Also did a few other work emails. Set off in afternoon in search of quahog shells. Had a hot tip about some giant clam shells so I followed that to Lobsterville Rd. no luck! Asked around at the shops on Gay Head cliffs. The lady at the shop was kinda cagey. Acted like she didn’t know where to find them even though she makes and sells wampum jewelry in her store. Suggested I go clamming but “I think you need a license for this.” She literally said “they are hard to find”. Really lady?! No they aren’t…bye!

jelly at manemsha mondayNext stop Dutcher Dock at Menemsha. I saw a bunch of broken quahog shells all over the ground around the fish shops. Went down on the dock. Saw a cool but deadly looking jelly fish and asked a fisherman where I could find some shells. He pointed my to the trash heap next to the bathrooms.

 

Eureka! I hit the mother lode!!

da mother loadIt was a stinky pile of shucked clam shells covered in flies and bees but to me it was purple gold! I squated over the pile picking out the shells with the deepest purple color and interesting patterns. Most of the shells had dried clam membrane still in them. Yucky but this means they are fresher than those I usually find on the beach.

Once home I spent the next several hours processing my shells. Soaking them first in clean water then laboriously scraping out the remaining membranes, and scrubbing off loose dirt with a toothbrush and my fingers. Next I boiled them and scrubbed them all down again. After a final rinse, laid them out on a towel to dry. (see pics of processing below)

Boiling time
 
Ready for boiling

 

 

drying
Drying

 

 

I have a great supply now but will probably get more. Still in search of those giant sea clam shells over in Aquinnah.

Tuesday Sept 9: Awoke early again. Made a lot more progress on writing today but it still feels a bit plodding! I find it hard to write. Wish it was like painting or other visiual arts which are just hours of pure pleasure. Broke for lunch then did a bit more.

writing area

My writing area

I took the afternoon to go for a walk. Drove over to Oak Bluffs, parked by the harbor and just walked along water edge to end of town then back through “Cottage City.” I did take brief walk on beach to look for pieces of quahog shell that have already been worn smooth by the waves and sand. Was rewarded with one piece. Really enjoyed my brisk walk in the cool sea breeze and the luxury of time to wander among the quaint little brightly colored houses.

Oak Bluffs cottages

Cottages in Oak Bluff

Once home a bit more shell processing then watched 12 Years a Slave (finally had courage). Great movie. Hoping to read a bit more of “A Heart of a Woman” tonight then off to early bed.  I will leave you with this peaceful video of Rock Music. Listen for the pretty sound the rocks make as the bigger waves recede. Ahhh music…

Wednesday Sept 10: Started writing earlier this morning and the morning writing session went really well! I completed an important scene. It was kind of tough because it was a very emotional scene so I had to struggle but after I got past that the writing flowed pretty easily.

smaller rocks in handWrote a bit more after lunch then headed to Lambert’s Cove to collect rocks, stopping at Native Cuts, for a haircut on the way. It was another gorgeous day at the beach. I explored the other end of the cove from where I normally go. (no pics b/c left phone in car. sorry). Went back to my prefered side of the cove to fill my bucket with rocks. After lugging my haul partway back down the shore I set up my towel, disrobed and soaked in some lovely sun. I was here about a month ago and today I noted that the sun’s power has already gentled quite a bit. It still felt divine. When my tummy started to growl and the clouds shrouded the sun I decided to head home. Time to lug my rocks. I quickly came up with a solution for the 10-15 minute walk back to the car. I put the towel then the bucket on my head. I did get a few looks but what’s a girl gonna do?

Net Result bagStopped by the Net Result on way home for more clam chowder and got some calamari from the shop to cook tomorrow. (I’m wondering if I should just get a trough for my clam chowder since I consume such huge amounts while here.) Once back at the house I showered, ate some chowder, chilled then got back to writing. It’s been a great day!

P.S. I LOVE Rocks!

Thursday. Sept. 11:

morning glory blue morning glory purple wild grapes

Today was a very good day! Got quite a bit of writing done in morning session. Broke early to go check out a property for a close friend. This errand took me to Edgartown so after viewing the house, a lovely little cottage with a charming yard, I decided to take lunch in Edgartown. Had a salad with tuna at Among the Flowers (salad nothing to write home about), then walked around the little harbor before heading back to my car. Took a short drive around town to look at the pretty homes before heading back to Vineyard Haven and to “work.”

lunch break
Lunchbreak in Edgartown

Afternoon writing progressed but was a bit haltingly. Broke at 4:00 for a phone session with a coaching client. It was an energizing and productive session and it didn’t hurt that I was able to walk around the yard and lay in the hammock while on the call. I also came across the grapes growing in my cousin’s yard. When she had told me of them a couple weeks ago they had still been sour, but to my delight when I plucked one off the vine and popped it in my mouth it was ripe and deliciously sweet! This was a great discovery beacause I was very hungy (salad does NOT keep me full) so I was able to have a snack while on the call. Yes…life is good!

After this I broke for dinner. I sauted the squid I had gotten from the Net Result then added it to some marinara sauce and had it over whole grain sphaghetti (good but not off the chain). More grapes for dessert.

I was pretty tired so after reading (and a tiny bit of Candy Crush…shhhh) I went to bed.

Friday Sept. 12: (soon come)

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#WOBW Fieldtrip to Cheryl A. Lofton & Assoc. Tailor Shop

Lofton in front of shopAfter meeting Ms. Lofton via Facebook I had the distinct pleasure of taking a field trip to her shop located at 719 T. St., NW Washington DC.

Cheryl A. Lofton & Assoc. is right down the block from the historic Howard Theatre. I love to learn more about businesses and meet entrepreneurs, that’s true, BUT I was also drawn to her shop by a VERY generous offer. After seeing my headshot in which I wear a tailored shirt she offered to make a tailored shirt just for me! Wow!

Fabrics lofton small

Which of these lucky fabrics will become a shirt?

We had a great time. Cheryl is fun, stylish, funny and kinda brash (in a good way). She clearly runs a great business (she also has a shoe repair shop located right next door). We chatted, hitting it off pretty quickly. After spending a good hour just getting to know one another she took the million measurements it seems one needs to make a shirt. She also showed me the fabrics and what she had in mind. I picked out some cool color combos with her help.I’m so excited because in a few weeks I will have a shirt made just for me!

 

Don’t worry, Lofton shopyou know I will be modeling the finished product! While we wait on that learn more about Cheryl and Cheryl A. Lofton & Assoc. by checking out our Women Owned Business Conversation with her HERE

Cheryl’s Bio: Cheryl A. Lofton is a Third Generation Tailoress. A native Washingtonian, she is a graduate of Howard University. With over 30 years experience, Cheryl began sewing at 12 years of age under the tutelage of her Grandfather, the late J.C. Lofton a self taught

Master Tailor and the first African American tailor to run a business in downtown Washington DC. At 18 years of age, Cheryl began managing one of the two family tailoring shops. There, she provided excellent alterations and custom tailoring services to many of Washington DC’s elite. Recognizing the few number of women patrons that visited the tailor shop, Cheryl began her quest to encourage women to have a personal tailor as well as to educate them about proper fitting garments. She is passionate about making sure that women’s alterations are performed with excellence and every curve in mind. Cheryl is currently the owner of Cheryl A. Lofton and Associates and like her Grandfather continues to provide custom tailoring and alteration services to the Washington Metropolitan area’s best dressed women and men. Visit her website at www.cheryllofton.com

me and Cheryl
If you are pursuing your Vision on the Heroine’s Quest join our tribe at the Vision Quest Retreats facebook page.

If you are a Woman Business Owner come play with us every Wed. at Women Owned Business Wednesdays; a 24 Hr Happy Hour where you meet cool people and win cool stuff!

Wishing you much success on the quest!
Nicole

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F.U.N. The 5-Point Plan.

Are you bored? Getting stale? Tired of the same old “same Ol’?” Do you do the same thing every week i.e. go to work, go to gym, come home, eat, watch TV, sleep? BORING!? I know I was…so I have devised a 5-point plan to change all that. If you are interested read on. (WARNING MANY “F” BOMBS WILL BE DROPPED IN THIS POST!!!)

Nick hot tub corrected croppedOf late I’ve been droopy, down, and a touch distressed. What was wrong? I have everything a girl could want. Friends, family, a good career, my own digs and wheels. I eat. I sleep in doors so what was I down about? I own my own business so I can pretty much do what I want but life had become stale. After a touch of self examination I realized I wasn’t really having any F’ing FUN! So I devised the following VERY SIMPLE  5-point plan with the objective of having more F.U.N.

1) FROLIC: Yep get out there and play! Nature is a great place to do this. Take a walk, go skiing, build a yurt. Do something that gets you out in fresh air and sunshine. Some people call it ecotherapy. I call it common sense! We need to move to get air and sunshine, get the endorphins going, boost that serotonin! If nature isn’t your thing go dancing!

2) FACE FEARS: Do one thing each day that scares you. Do something big and scary that you have always wanted to do. Take a risk. Try a new food even! Anything to shake it up. Ideas include (but are not limited to) apply for that job, call that guy or gal, take a trip, eat alone, learn a new sport, buy a house!

3) FIND FUN FRIENDS: Meet new people, or have some real fun with your old ones. Again this is taking a risk. Introduce yourself to a new person at work or at play. Some of these folks might also be good to FROLIC with, who knows?

4) FEEL: This can mean being in the moment. Pay attention! There is good stuff all around you. Feel joy for what you have. Make a gratitude list each day. I suggest writing down 3 good things you do each day and 5 things for which you are grateful. Stop every now and again and feel what it’s like to be alive. Point 4 is also a great place to develop your spirituality, but this can also be done on any other point.

5) FAN YOUR FLAME: Find passion in your work. If you are doing work you love then that’s half your fun quotient right there. Vision Quest Retreats was built on the belief that there should be joy in your work. It’s your gift to the world. If you can access the passion and purpose in what you do then you will have fun doing it. Khalil Gibran wrote a great poem that explains what I mean. It’s called “On Work” and it’s one of my favorite inspiring written works. In it he says. “Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with
distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of
the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”

There you have it. Wash, rinse, repeat! Of course there could be a ton more points to this plan. I’m sure you can think of some. What are they? Get out there have some F.U.N. and drop me a line and let me know how you are doing. If you share some fun ideas I will post them on our Facebook Page.

 

 

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Success Coaching Exercise for Year’s End & Beginning


Happy New Year!

This year I tweaked last year’s end of year/new year inventory, which you will see below.  I like to take some time out around the end of the year to take stock and plan for next year. This year I was blessed to do this during my Writing Retreat to Martha’s Vineyard.  (to see year’s past View my 2011 New Year’s Eve Message from Key Largo   and 2012 Happy New Year Success Coaching Exercise)

Happy New Year Success Coaching Exercise to try:

1) Take some quiet time to reflect on the past year. Journal about it; make a list of highlights and gains (this can be on any level). Make a list of losses. Take some time to feel the feelings that go with all of the above. Make note of  what you learned from these experiences.

2) Look at your goals from last year and assess how you did (remember to be compassionate with yourself) noticing where you might have been unrealistic and where you could have done more.

3) Make a list of what you want to focus on and/or manifest this year. This can include your goals and/or may be the behaviors and thoughts you want to continue from last year.

4) On a separate piece of paper make a list of things you want to or are ready to let go of. Get rid of the paper and the contents. You may want to put it in your G*ddess/God box, burn, bury or flush this list with a prayer to help you to release them (keeping the environment in mind).

5) Create an action plan with a timeline to address what you want to accomplish in the New Year.

If you would like some help taking the action plan further feel free to drop me a line or check out Success Coaching

Happy New Year and Much Continued Success & Well Being,

Nicole

P.S. If you are a woman pursuing your Vision on the Heroine’s Quest join our tribe at the Vision Quest Retreats face book page

If you are a Woman Business Owner come play with us every Wed. at Women Owned Business Wednesdays; a 24 Hr Happy Hour where you meet cool people and win cool stuff!

 

 

 

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Writing & Reflection Retreat-Winter Solstice 2013


After attending a memorial service in Rhode Island to honor my friend Jen (a.k.a. Pirate Jenny) I took a little time in Martha’s Vineyard to rest, reflect and do some writing on Book II of the Adventures of Isabelle. These videos and stills are from the photographic safaris I took. I hope you enjoy them and I invite you to share any reflections you may have from this time of the year as we let go of the old and welcome the new.

I arrived on the soltice. After docking in Vineyard Haven and dropping my bags I was hungry for lunch.  Clam Chowder at the Net Result . Christmas shopping on Main St., Vineyard Haven. Dropped gifts back at the house then headed off for Lucy Vincent Beach, Chillmark. It was an unseasonably warm and sunny day.Red rock hand smallburning tree small

 

 

 

 

 

I took time to really focus on the beauty, be in the moment and just breathe. Something about this skate egg and the reflection of the water on the rocks held me captive.

On the second day after writing all morning I headed first to Aquinnah. The day was chilly and fog hung over everything. The fog was so thick I could not see the ocean from the road alongside the Gay Head Light house.

I drove from Aquinnah to Edgartown stopping to take pictures along the way. The fog persisted and a light mist fell on everything shrouding the lanscape in quiet solitude. After about 40 mins I arrived in Edgartown to find it all done up for Christmas.

shops
I walked around town then took the road to the light house stopping in the Fields Hotel to warm up by the fire place before walking out across the dunes to the light house which wore a cheerful wreath and Christmas lights for the season.

path to lh sandLight house closer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close to sunset and dinner time I made my way back to Vineyard Haven stopping in Oak bluffs to take some pictures/video of the ocean and the colorful ginger bread houses that can be found there. There was also a lone little Christmas tree lit up and floating out in the lagoon.

xmas tree vineyard havenAs the sun was setting I made my way back to Vineyard Haven. Not able to resist I picked up clam chowder again from the Net Result before heading home. Passing along Main St. I enjoyed the Christmas decorations and the smell of pine in the air from all the wreaths and trees. This tree (to the right) was my favorite tree.

After this couple of days of rest and reflection I boarded the ferry for Woods Hole the next day then made the long trek home. Just in time for a wonderful Christmas Eve and Day with family and friends. Grateful for my life and all the many blessings.

Wishing you much success, well being and happiness in the New Year!

Nicole

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A Woman’s Vision Conference March 22-23 in Springfield, VA!

WomansVisionCMYK no tagsmall

I’m honored to be speaking at “A Woman’s Vision” March 22-23 in Springfield, VA! I would love it if you could join me for this inspirational event!

nicole

Speaking at The Life Balance Conference in Atlanta in 2012

REGISTER HERE!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Every woman seeking direction and clarity in her life, career or work. This conference will aid in cultivating your vision, providing the tools needed to achieve your goals in 2014 and beyond!

Visit A Woman’s Vision Facebook page to learn more.

If you are pursuing your Vision on the Heroine’s Quest join our tribe at the Vision Quest Retreats facebook page.

If you are a Woman Business Owner come play with us every Wed. at Women Owned Business Wednesdays; a 24 Hr Happy Hour where you meet cool people and win cool stuff!

Wishing you much success on the quest!
Nicole

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Natural Splendor Meditation-Autumn into Winter 2013

Before the hybernation of white winters in my part of the world Mother Nature puts on one last spectacular show of brilliant color. This treat brings the blessings of Fall. This slide show is my attempt to capture just a small piece of Her beauty. Photos taken on the property of the Airlie Center in Warrenton, VA while there to lead a diversity workshop at the all staff retreat for the National Park Conservation Association.

If you are a woman or man pursuing your Vision on the Heroine’s Quest join our tribe at the Vision Quest Retreats facebook page.

To learn more about my organizational development services check out Cutts Consulting’s facebook page

Wishing you much success on the quest!
Nicole

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