SALT consults

sometimes in the waves of change we find our true direction. – unknown

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image |courtney | race rock lighthouse

in honor of my birthday and the gifts that i’ve received through SALT practices, i’d like to extend them to others. i am now accepting 1:1 consultations.

sessions and practices can be described in 3 words as …

here and now

casual over clinical

honest heart connection

compassionate life lens

empathy-building skill

applicable to everyone

normalizing our needs

affordable, accessible, comfortable

my ask is that you come to each FIN consult with something that is currently “alive” in you. together we will first participate in a relaxing technique to center ourselves and shift our focus from the day to the present moment, and then dive right into your current stressor. from here, we will aim to identify why you may be feeling the way you feel based on needs and discuss strategies. each session will end with verbalizing an appreciation. SALT consults are a way to practice a transformative shift in improved relating to self and others. like a fin helps to propel and guide the body of a sea animal ; identifying feelings and needs can help to guide you and propel your life.

FIN consults are most appropriate for individuals, teenagers and beyond.

to initiate a FIN consult please e-mail me at courtney@selfawarenessletstalk.com. debit cards, credit cards, or venmo are accepted, and payment is expected at the start of each session. consults are available virtually (or in-person with those in rhode island and eastern connecticut for an additional mileage fee).

*please note that this is not therapy. SALT consults, practices, and resources are not intended to be a substitution for any other well-being supports that you may be receiving. insurance is not accepted.

posh

i am finally following gary vee’s trash talk advice, and started a closet on poshmark! i listed a few items for sale and will continue to add more. it may come as no surprise that gary is someone i admire being that he and his family are in the liquor / wine biz (like my dad, and one day, me), and he’s about hard work, self-awareness, communication, kindness, garage sales, and flipping things (among other ambitious things)! welcome to my closet – @saltllc! #respect #hustle #posh

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image | @saltllc’s poshmark page

seeking human kindness

owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do. – brené brown

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image | courtney

well, january has really tested my focus areas for 2020 right out of the gates – financial peace and the need for ease! let’s see – a broken / replaced new phone ; new door lock on my car ; cracked / replaced windshield ; final SALT studio closing costs ; a flat tire ; frozen water pipes at the cabin ; work struggles ; a dead mouse in my house, i can’t! (my biggest fear and i almost stepped on it in the middle of the night) ; a vet hospital visit and eye ulcer diagnosis for giorgio today, which happens to be his birthday! never mind global warming, politics, fires, loss of life, the list could go on … it all impacts well-being.

needless to say, i am SO ready for february – “fresh start february” i am calling it! the last few weeks have been challenging, on a personal level. i recognize that far worse could be going on, but this is where my life is currently at.

i share this post as i practice vulnerability and accountability, and not for pity, judgment, or comparison. this is one of the more raw, potentially shame triggering posts i have shared, but this is how i am choosing to show up. to own my story – the beautiful and the messy parts.

as much as i love fashion – always have, always will … (i did happen to get voted best dressed in high school, which is funny because i chose to shop mostly in thrift stores then, and most likely to be like mother theresa for that matter, ha!), filters, and the fun-in-the-fast lane lifestyle, it’s important to me that i bring a blend of realness and wholesomeness to this small corner of the world here. it’s my hope you’ll find some comfort and inspiration from this post, and in general from this mash-up of a blog.

anyways, back to january’s beating – i’ve been joking the “best year yet” headband i rocked on new year’s eve jinxed me! it was the flat tire after touring a horse barn in saunderstown for work (followed by the oil company calling to remind me of my automatic delivery set for the following day) that threw me into complete overwhelm! 

i called my dad to tell him what happened. “dad, i am really having a rough go of things,” i started. then the flood gates opened. “i can’t hear you,” he said. i somehow got out, “sorry, i am crying. my car is broken down, and i’m having a breakdown!” it is quite laughable now, but at the time it felt as though i had just been thrown off the horse and kicked, let me tell you.

i had tears streaming down my face as the AAA guys arrived to change my tire to the donut. “courtney, you can wait in the car,” one kindly said. i would normally have felt really embarrassed, but that day i felt comfortable to be my authentic hot mess (is this the kind of stuff people mean when you hear them say, “not caring comes with age?!?”). after i tipped them, a small gesture of my appreciation for their kindness and non-judgment, i collected myself and got back on the road.

i went to my parents house to borrow a vehicle and have dinner. i dreaded the conversations to come – as if i hadn’t been beating myself up enough for needing some help out of january’s hole. i listened, they listened. i spoke, they spoke. i felt mostly ashamed.

in my dad’s own way to relate, shown concern, and care, he spoke about some of his own experiences earlier in life when he struggled as an entrepreneur. he  challenged me, and tried his best to offer guidance. i reminded him that since he had relatable experiences, then he could probably understand that empathizing, rather than (unintentional) shaming, would feel most supportive. i admire my dad – he’s my everyday hero, so it is hard for me when he’s hard on me. of course, however, i know it is out of love, and i am better because of this.

we spoke about my experience with money – past credit card abuse and about my tendency to live off of bonuses rather than save or invest them. i silently reminded myself that my spending was meeting an unmet need. i shared about past behaviors, the resulting stress that i have lived with, and my frustrations from never really having been taught about proper money handling – i do not blame anyone for this, especially at my age and with my capabilities to seek help. however, it makes me sad, as i know i am not alone here. maybe you can relate to some of this?

we shifted to my more recent efforts to be money conscious, and my dad shared about his credit card use history, or lack there of. i relayed that his way of living without one is a lifetime achievement goal that i have already started working on – i no longer use or carry credit cards. i haven’t now for quite some time and i am proud of this. dave ramsey would be, too!

i shared about my experience of having opened and closed a business, and my regret / learnings from having entered into the SALT studio as the sole financial contributor. my dad shared about his stress of owning a convenience store in the earlier part of my parent’s marriage, and how financially stressful and unsuccessful it was. he expressed appreciation for some people, including my grandparents and a friend, who helped him financially through the hard times. today, you would not outwardly know this of his past – again, goals. he stressed the difficulties that can surround business partnerships, as he has had and still has a few, suggesting i avoid them in the future. tearfully, i agreed.

i shared about the changing landscape of healthcare and how the formation of alliances has lead to changing and growing competition, thus impacting referrals and hence, my compensation. i shared about the overwhelm and the disheartening reality around the complexity of healthcare and the impact on choice. thankfully, i am creative and a 12-month plan that i developed was approved for roll-out, which should help. still, times of transition are undoubtedly challenging. and still, i rise.

i shared about the heartbreak of not having yet found a compatible partner to share my life with, especially as i approach 37. as someone who believes we are all here for connection, and who works in the death and dying field, understanding how short and fragile our time here truly is, it often saddens me. tears really flowed as i shared this with my mom. she reminded me that all of these struggles are temporary and to keep faith. i do. i choose to persist on, and remain hopeful.

so, when i saw a unhoused man standing in a median the other day holding a sign that read, “seeking human kindness,” i naturally got all teary from being in this trying place, and handed him some money as i drove by. now, i don’t usually give money because after a year of working at the homeless outreach center in south beach, miami, you learn there are other ways to help, but this time i just couldn’t help myself! sometimes seeing how others are struggling puts my mindset in a different place. i do not minimize my feelings, but i do gain meaningful perspective. it also reminds me we all have common needs. i could not agree with you more, sir.

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image | courtney

the lyrics (from another song in the movie beaches), “human kindness is overflowing, and i think it’s gonna rain today,” got stuck in my head as i drove away from him. i reflected about my mom, the beaches post, the mother / daughter relationship path we have had, and the respect and appreciation i have for my parent’s ability, and choice, to step in and help me out when needed. their kindness does overflow on my rainy days. i am grateful.

i think often lately, well in between my breakdowns (let’s be real), about how empowering struggle can be. even kobe bryant, often spoke of this, and it is in the tragic loss of his life and others, that we can be reminded of this. every waking day i can choose my course.

i can ignore and suppress, or i can acknowledge that it’s solely up to me to make changes ; i can choose to sit and “be” with the uncomfortableness of my choices ; i can choose my self-talk ; i have the power to choose different ; i have the ability to explore options ; and i am capable of optimistically moving forward knowing that, as NVC reminds us, there are many, many, ways to meet my needs … and the same is true for you.

as i reflect, own, and share my story, i am strengthened. i believe that it is being vulnerable in these ways that will allow for more authentic connection to happen – to myself and others. i often tell people in my life that my money handling is the most shameful part of me. i make a more than decent living and have no excuses. as i work through it, i feel empowered and hopeful. money surely isn’t a topic to make the top liked posts for many lifestyle bloggers, but is one that touches us all and impacts our well-being in countless ways.

one really easy step to help with working towards financial peace is to surround ourselves with positivity – whether it be people who we can be vulnerable with and who can mutually be vulnerable back (i am blessed with having people in my life like this), or it may be what we watch, listen to, or read. i keep my soulcollage card titled, “kicking the spiral of emotional spending,” on my make-up station so that every morning and night i confront this to some degree. one awesome podcast that i have listened to a few times this month, and that i recommend, is on “money therapy” – who knew?! you can listen to it on ManTalks.

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image | courtney | “kicking the spiral of emotional spending” soulcollage

may the force of having it all – money, life’s luxuries (however that looks to you), support, choice, and love – be within and with us along this unmapped journey. thank you for trolling along. 🙏🏼

rcb memories

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image | courtney | matunuck, ri

in college my parents bought a beach cottage at roy carpenters beach in matunuck, ri. they bought the cottage from the owners of the wheelhouse tavern in galilee, and joked that as part of the deal my sister and i were getting jobs – and in fact we did! mel worked the take-out window downstairs and i waitressed upstairs (my cocktailing days at the viking hotel in newport came in handy). our days were spent overlooking the fishing boats and watching the point judith block island ferry come and go – not too shabby!

my dad bought us an old (vintage i’ll say today) white vw cabriolet convertible (“the egg”) to cruise around in. mel and i lived together for two years during college in downtown newport (mel got her masters in holistic counseling while i finished my undergrad degree at salve), and also at the cottage during summer breaks. it was quite the time of our lives – we both dated salve hockey captains and made lots of memories all together (and needless to say, there are scars to prove it)! nights at the ocean mist, mew’s, and dancing at the rcb block parties were our favorite!

one of the perks of living there was that our neighbor was the one & only john cafferty of the beaver brown band and eddie and the cruisers! i ended up babysitting for their two adorable boys, spending every friday at their house. john and his beautiful wife are the kindest souls. it was a dream job and they were so good to me! over the years since, i try to go see him occasionally when he plays at local venues. my favorite song is tender years … tunes! 🖤🎷💦

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image| courtney | east greenwich, ri

and on that note, i am excited to share this that he’s playing at the odeum theatre on main street in east greenwich, ri on saturday, march 14th at 8:00pm (doors open at 7)! UPDATE : SHOW POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER 5th DUE TO CORONAVIRUS!!! check out this local star! and then i highly suggest going for a night cap at a fav of mine, huck’s filling station!

beaches

it might have appeared to go unnoticed, but i’ve got it all here in my heart. – bette midler

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image | courtney with a hospice recipient | first beach | newport, ri

today i spent the day at the house i grew up in cleaning and purging with my parents. i found the dvd of the first movie i ever remember watching with my mom, beaches … it’s a special memory, and such a great movie about friendship, resiliency, love, and loss.

the beach house scene has always been my favorite – it’s no wonder that my favorite part of hospice is finding ways for people to have more meaningful connections and experiences before they die, like capturing hands or going to the beach – or both!

what are some of your earliest movie memories?

need : an example ?

practice makes progress! in an effort to practice and model feelings and needs identification and integration, a key part of SALT practices, i will vulnerably share mine on SALT’s instagram account – @salt.selfawarenessletstalk. give it a follow to join me on this journey of deeper self-awareness.

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ig | @salt.selfawarenessletstalk sample post

hopefully this will help to serve as inspiration for SALT integration into your life as well! feel free to comment what you are feeling and needing on the posts to help grow your own practice, and together may we grow a more conscious and compassionate community.

what ig accounts bring you inspiration? @theclass by taryn toomey is a favorite of mine!

the anatomy of trust

have you ever thought about the anatomy of trust? we all throw the word “trust” around, but what does it really mean?

in 2015 brené brown, my favorite author, gave a talk on one of oprah’s super soul sessions on trust. she broke down how she defines trust using the acronym BRAVING. to watch this part of the talk, click here.

Boundaries – be clear about boundaries ; hold boundaries ; respect boundaries

Reliability – do what you say you will do – over, and over, and over again ; be honest about and communicate limitations

Accountability – when mistakes are made own them, apologize, and make amends ; allow the same for others

Vault – maintain confidentiality ; share only what is yours to share ; avoid “common enemy intimacy”

Integrity – choose courage over comfort ; choose what’s right over what’s fun, fast, and easy ; practice, not just profess, your values

Nonjudgement – refrain from judging self and others

Generosity – make generous assumptions and check-in

when the talk first came out i was at a place in my life when trust was really being questioned in multiple areas of my life. this really got me seriously thinking about it. i thought if i could get a better handle on what “trust” meant to me then maybe it could be a game changer.

to get started i consulted the nonviolent communication needs list to help me gain clarity. i really found value in this, and to this day, i still use the same 5 needs from 2015 that i found on the NVC needs list to define trust for myself. i define trust as the need for dependability ; reliability ; predictability ; consistency ; and accountability.

i may ask some of the following clarifying questions as i examine the needs to determine if trust exists.

dependability – does this (person / place / thing) show up when i need them? when they show up do i feel ease or dis-ease?

reliability – do they regularly and mutually show up? do i feel at ease when thinking about if or how they will show up?

predictability – am i mostly certain about how they do / can / will show up and contribute to my life? to some degree do i know what to expect? is their often ease or dis-ease around how or when they show up or contribute?

consistency – are their actions / behaviors repeatedly the same? do i notice feeling patterns of ease or dis-ease?

accountability – are they able to identify and own problem areas that they are aware of or as they arise? are they able to acknowledge the ways in which they contribute(d) to dis-ease? do they initiate apologies? do they appear to want a mutually beneficial outcome?

there have been times in my life when knew i didn’t trust someone or something, or even myself. “something seems off,” might be something i’d say. yet, i don’t remember pinpointing exactly why trust was missing.

today, thanks to the help of brené, the NVC lists, and the many life experiences giving me plenty of practice, i am able to identify why trust does or does not exist, and clearly communicate about why. even further, i can identify body sensations and feelings that usually bubble up for me when i am feeling mistrust. these sensations and feelings can act as sensors alerting me that a need is probably not being met, which is great self-awareness and perhaps a signal to change course!

it is my hope that this post may help or inspire you to think about what trust means to you. as brené said, when we trust, we are braving connection, and again, i believe connection is why we are all here. #divedeeplivewell

the exercise

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image | contact to claim | courtney’s cell phone screen for years & logo inspiration

in the last post i shared a brief introduction to SALT practices – the hybrid method of mindfulness and nonviolent communication (NVC) for improved well-being. in this post, i’ll share with you one of the most helpful treasures i’ve found to date – “the exercise” by thom bond, a thought leader, author, activist, and founder of nycnvc.

before you get started with “the exercise,” i encourage you to participate in this 1-minute breathing practice. simply inhale as the shapes in the video contract and exhale as the shapes expand. we so often get caught up in our daily tasks that we forget to pause, breathe, and center ourselves in order to think more clearly. a short mindfulness practice like this can help with shifting focus!

hopefully you are feeling a bit more relaxed, and are ready to try something new! please allow yourself adequate time to complete all of the guided steps – about 20-30 minutes, especially for the first time.

you can return to this practice as often as you would like, as many times as needed, for always … eventually, after much practice, you will probably be able to do this from your mind’s eye without paper. also over time you may notice this process becomes your go-to automatic response when trying to understand situations. this will be proof that new neural pathways have formed and that you are shifting towards compassion!

click here to start “the exercise.”