Tao of Inner Peace Newsletter
Diane Dreher Coaching & Consulting, LLC
Seasonal Newsletter: Autumn 2019
Charting New Beginnings in This Season of Change
Photo by Judith Pomerantz
Can you feel it--the cooler weather as you gather in the last harvests of summer, the brisk autumn air as the trees turn red and gold? 

Golden autumn is a season of change, time to put away your summer clothes and reach for your favorite warm sweater. It’s a time of new energies as students return to school and migrating birds fly overhead.

Photo by Judith Pomerantz
The calendar marks time differently for each of us. Some people begin the year in January with New Year’s resolutions. Others sense new beginnings in Spring. But after many years as a student and faculty member, I feel a season of new beginnings in Autumn.

This time of year many of us feel an inner restlessness, an urge to begin a new hobby, start a new exercise program, try something new. And some of us are changing jobs, retiring, beginning new careers, or seeking greater balance in our lives. If so, it can be time to back away from old routines and pause to gain greater perspective on the days to come.

Years ago, William Bridges was an American literature professor at Mills College when he took a sabbatical to listen to his heart. Searching through books and workshops on personal growth and talking to people about their lives, he discovered a new calling. He wrote his book, Transitions, and became a successful author, workshop leader, and consultant, leaving college teaching to help people navigate their own life transitions (Bridges, 2004).

Michelle Millis Chappel was a successful psychology professor at Santa Clara University, but somewhere beneath the surface she felt something was missing from her life. One day she picked up her old guitar and began singing, which led to composing songs and performing locally on weekends while continuing to teach. Then she left her academic career to embrace her new creative calling. Today, she is an award-winning singer-songwriter and creativity consultant, combining psychology and music to help people discover their own paths to greater joy in life (Chappel, 2019).

For years, Kevin Carroll was a successful high school teacher at Saint Lawrence Academy in Santa Clara, California. In December 2006, after a weekend retreat at the Jesuit Retreat Center in Los Altos, he began writing a blog about gratitude. ­­­Thirteen years and over 1,600 blog posts later, he’s retired from teaching and a successful author, retreat and workshop leader. He now meets with people in churches, schools, and community groups to share the greater joy, healing, and inspiration that a regular gratitude practice brings to our lives (Carroll, 2017).

Do you feel an inner restlessness, a call to explore new terrain in this season of your life? This can be anything from a major life change to a call to develop greater personal balance. In my coaching, I often use the Pillars of a Balanced Life, developed by psychologist, coach, and MentorCoach founder, Ben Dean (2005). To try this practice for yourself, take out a piece of paper and write down these ten areas of your life: professional, financial, physical, spiritual, intimacy, social support, family, learning/growth, home/office, and play/fun. Next, give each area a number from 1 (low) to 10 (high). Then choose an area you’d like to improve and ask yourself what you can do to move that number a little higher. For example, if spirituality is a 2, what can you do to raise it to a 3 in the days ahead? Consider what brings you inspiration—is it meditation, participating in organized religion, reading spiritual books, spending time in nature, or something else? Then schedule time for this practice in the days ahead.
If you’re dealing with a major life change, you can chart a new path by following the four steps in my book, Your Personal Renaissance: Discovery, Detachment, Discernment, and Direction (Dreher, 2008). 

  • Discovery: Positive psychologists have found that we each have five top character strengths or “signature strengths.” You can discover yours by taking the VIA character survey at www.viacharacter.org. Research has shown that using these strengths regularly can help you discover your calling and become happier, healthier, and more successful (Seligman, 2002; Seligman et al, 2005). 

  • Detachment: Many of us are rushing from one commitment to the next without time to determine where we’re going. You can clear more space in your life for what you really want by eliminating activities, habits, and people that drain your energy. Ask yourself, “Is this really necessary? Does this bring greater joy and meaning to my life?” If not, find a way to release it.

  • Discernment: Listen to your heart to connect with your values, asking if what you’re doing brings you consolation or desolation. Consolation is a deep sense of communion with life, with feelings of love, joy, peace, inspiration, authenticity, gratitude, altruism, trust, creativity, and expansive growth. Desolation cuts us off from others, closing us in on ourselves, bringing dark feelings of fear, isolation, anxiety, worry, hostility, self-pity, guilt, depression, and lack of meaning. As you go through your days, listen to your heart and look within for greater discernment.

  • Direction: Set a goal that reflects your deepest values and use your strengths to get you there. In the process known as hope psychology, first write down a personal goal, then three steps to reach that goal, an obstacle that might come up for each step, and an alternative action to overcome each obstacle. When you’ve done that, close your eyes and visualize yourself taking these steps, overcoming the obstacles, and celebrating as you reach your goal. Open your eyes and when you’re ready, take the first step (Feldman & Dreher, 2012). 
So in this golden autumn season, you can find greater balance in the pillars of your life or take a new path by discovering your strengths, detaching from distractions, discerning what you truly value, and charting your direction with hope.

I wish you joy on the path. 

Bridges, W. (2004). Transitions: Making sense of life’s changes . New York, NY: Da Capo.

Carroll, K. (2017). A moment’s pause for gratitude . Bloomington, IN: Balboa Press.

Chappel, Michelle Millis,PhD, CEO of Creativity Rock Star Coaching & Consulting, personal communication, September 2019. For more information, see www.michellechappel.com , www.beyourownsuperhero.com .

Dean, B. (1999-2005). Pillars of a Balanced Life. Bethesda, MD: MentorCoach LLC. For more about Ben, MentorCoach, and positive psychology coaching, see https://www.mentorcoach.com/ .

Dreher, D. (2008). Your personal renaissance: 12 steps to finding your life’s true calling. New York, NY: Da Capo.

Feldman, D. B. and Dreher, D. E. (2012). Can hope be changed in 90 minutes? Testing the efficacy of a single-session goal-pursuit intervention for college students.  Journal of Happiness Studies, 13, 745-759.

Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N, & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60, 410-421; Seligman, M.E. P. (2002). Authentic happiness. New York, NY: Free Press.
Free Coaching Available

Are you looking for the light of greater possibility this season? I’m offering two free positive psychology coaching sessions to the first person who contacts me at this link .
About Diane
I am a positive psychology coach, researcher, and best-selling author. My books include  The Tao of Inner Peace The Tao of Personal Leadership The Tao of Womanhood Inner Gardening:   A Seasonal Path to Inner Peace , and  Your Personal Renaissance: 12 Steps to Finding Your Life’s   True Calling .

My coaching uses the latest research in positive psychology, mindful listening, powerful questions, and other creative techniques to help people like you overcome roadblocks, achieve your goals, and discover greater joy and meaning in life.   
I am an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) and a member of the  International Coach Federation   (ICF) a leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals. 

I am also a Certified MentorCoach (CMC) with the internationally recognized coach training community  MentorCoach LLC.
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Diane Dreher, PhD, MA, ACC, CMC
Diane Dreher Coaching & Consulting, LLC
© Diane Dreher 2018