One Hour Can Change Your Life

Relax and focus - in one hour - at or near your home. Use your One Hour Retreat to get back on track - in your business, in your relationships, or in just being YOU!


Nature Feeds My Soul

Nature feeds my soul.

I'm assuming it feeds your soul, too, or you would have stopped reading already. 

It is summer here in the US and it stays light late into the evening.  Right now, despite a somewhat cloudy sky, it is still quite light at 8:58 pm.  The sky is blushing a dark pink between the leaves of the trees. I don't often get to see sunsets here in the woods, partly because the trees obscure the western sky and partly because my attention is usually turned elsewhere at this hour of the evening. 

Based on the symphony of sounds I am hearing, there must be dozens, if not hundreds, of birds in the forest immediately surrounding my home.  Not being an avid birder, I can't identify most of them.  But I can still enjoy their impromptu jam session - the improvisational orchestration of at least a dozen different species.

Some carry the melody - probably the robins and orioles.  Others are more percussive, like the drum of the woodpecker and the whistles and maraca-like sounds of others. The occasional sharp caw of the crows and the bass croaks coming from the frogs down by the creek merely add to the beauty of the rest. There is a soft undercurrent of  the buzzing of bees.

I don't do this nearly often enough.

Why?  All I need to do is step outside onto the deck for 5 minutes.  Five minutes of focused listening is worth its weight in gold in restoring my soul:  my equilibrium, my perspective, my connection to Spirit.

And this "focused listening" seems to heighten my other senses as well.  I become aware of the slight, cooling breeze caressing my skin, and  the vivid hot pink of the flush of roses on the climbing vines that mimics that in the sky.  I am aware of the lush greeness of the forest and of the life that goes on there, day and night, without my noticing.  The pale foxgloves at the edge of the forest are almost glowing - ghostlike sentinels in the fading light.

I've been out here about 10 minutes and already the chorus is starting to fade with the light.  There are still a few dozen birds, but their calls are fewer and more far between.  Soon night will fall.  And soon I'll go back inside, back to the TV, the computer, the family and the chores to get ready for tomorrow.

But this evening, I've claimed my manna.


I Hate My Job Because...

About a year ago, before I had transitioned to coaching and was working as a full-time employee, a local coffee shop was holding a raffle for a free lunch.  I picked up an entry slip to enter the drawing, and smiled when I saw what it said:

 I HATE MY JOB BECAUSE....._________________

 My first reaction was a chuckle - and indeed several possible answers leapt to mind.

But immediately following my initial chuckle was another reaction:  sadness.  How sad is it that dissatisfaction with our jobs is so endemic that we run contests about it?

I decided then and there to make a list of things I liked about my job (paid employment):
  • It pays the bills, with some left over for non-necessities
  • It challenges my intellect
  • People appreciate what I do and how I do it
  • Most of the people there are fun (I complain about the ones that aren't, but the fact is, most of them are great people, who keep their sense of humor amidst the storms)
  • I get a significant amount of paid time off
  • I have great bosses
  • I learn something new almost every day

And I also listed what I like about my new "job" (coaching):
  • I love that moment when people really relax, and let go of the angst that's been holding them hostage, and see the way forward
  • I feel blessed to be able to facilitate self-discovery
  • It engages my whole self - body, mind and spirit
  • I never know what is going to happen next (but it's almost always amazing)
  • It allows me to use my whole brain, not the just scholarly left brain
  • I meet new people all the time
  • I get to help people connect to their best selves, and work and live from that place, with a sense of spaciousness and ease and flow even as they get more done.
I invite you to take a moment now, and consider what you like about your job.  Please share in the comments below.

Can One Minute of Meditation Really Help?

I hear it all the time:  "when I meditate, my life just goes better, but I just can't seem to find the time to make meditation a priority." 

What if you could meditate in one minute?  Can you spare one minute?

Yes, Virginia, even as little as one minute of meditation can help calm your nerves, clear your mind and lift your spirit.  So -- even if you think you can't sit still, even if you are crazy-busy, even if you have to go into the bathroom to do it -- I urge you to give it a try. 

Need someone to lead you along?  Try this a 5 minute video, from the author of the "One Moment Meditation."

The video includes a bit of instruction, some helpful tips, and a one-minute meditation.  You may find it helpful to focus on a phrase, rather than just on your breath, for example:  inbreath/outbreath or receiving/surrendering or simply in/out.

Take a moment right now to enjoy a One Moment Meditation, and enjoy a clearer, calmer, more focused rest-of-day.


A 30 Minute Mini-Retreat - Using Visual Images

Feeling off-kilter, but with no time to retreat?

Try this - 15-30 minutes is all you need.

A "One Image" Retreat

Pour a mug or glass of your favorite beverage and get into comfy clothes.  If you enjoy music, put on some relaxing or upbeat music - whatever appeals to you in this moment.  Grab a stack of magazines from around the house or at your local newsstand (3-5 is plenty).  Get an assortment - even those that seem dry or "all business" can work for this retreat.

Take a sip of your beverage, and then close your eyes and take several deep cleansing breaths.  If you'd like, do this standing up and incorporate a bit of movement with your breaths.  Or just sit quietly and invite your body to relax.

Then, sit down with your pile of magazines, and just start paging through them, looking for images that appeal to you.  Don't overthink this, just go with what appeals to you for any reason.  Settle on one (or at most two) that seem to be resonating the most at this moment.  Again, don't overthink this, just go with whatever rises to the surface.  There is no right or wrong, and there is no "perfect" image.

Don't move on until you've selected an image.

Then, simply sit and reflect on that image for several minutes, seeing what messages, thoughts or feelings it brings up.  Stay with it for a while, allowing (but not forcing or requiring) layers of meaning to emerge.  If you'd like, write or sketch or doodle or move a bit about what came up.

Whether or not the image has proven meaningful, post it where you will see it again in the next several days, and invite new meaning to emerge.

Give a silent "thank you" to the Universe for this time of retreat, for the relaxation of this time, and for any wisdom that has emerged, and return to your daily life refreshed by this little break.


Don't Be So Serious - Play!

Some people think of retreats as somewhat somber or serious or "deep" affairs.

And they certainly can be.  People frequently take retreats is to sort out a troubling issue or clear out some negativity that has built up.  And so the energy of retreat is often introspective, inward facing, quiet, and yes, somewhat "serious."  And amidst that energy one often finds in retreat a wellspring of quiet but very real joy.

But retreats do not have to be solo, quiet or serious.  They can be playful, fun, and creative.

In these dark, cold days of winter, it can be especially challenging to keep the spirit of play alive.

I recently stumbled across the "Society of the Secret Play Date."  Productivity through play - what a great way to spend a One Hour Retreat!    I haven't tried this yet, but here's the link, if you want to check it out:

And don't give me any of that "I'm just not creative" baloney.  I don't consider myself particularly artistic, but incorporating play and creativity into my days and weeks makes me a lot happier and more fun to be around - and more productive too.

Other ways you can play:

  • Turn on the radio and dance (no one is watching...)
  • Use crayons or markers to color in a coloring book
  • Knit, crochet, quilt, etc.
  • Write or record a short story for your child or grandchild - you know all her favorite themes
  • Bake
  • Build a snowman (go with the flow of winter, rather than fighting it)
  • Be like Fred Astaire and sing in the rain
  • Take a class - learn something new
  • Take a "field trip" to a local attraction you've never been to
  • Take in a performance you usually wouldn't (try hip-hop if you're a ballet nut, and vice versa)
  • Trade knock-knock jokes with a grade-schooler
  • Watch your favorite funny movie
  • [your ideas here]

I’ve been thinking a lot about play lately.  It just seems to keep coming up – my friends and my clients are all complaining that they want to be able to laugh at work, they want to have time to have fun and enjoy life, they want to stop and smell the roses. 

Play is an essential part of life.  Some high achievers seem to be happy working all the time - but that's because they have combined work and play in a way that is highly satisfying to them.  They literally play at their work.  And that's a great goal - and one I have some growing to do before I'll achieve.

Until then,  I vow to incorporate more play into my life, starting today.  Who's with me?


Get Your Project on Track with a Free One Hour Coaching Retreat (By Telephone)

International Coach Week Special

When you're in business for yourself, it can sometimes feel like everything needs to be done at once.  And the overwhelm of that can sometimes feel like it is taking all the fun out of what started out wanting to be a fun way to make a living!

And sometimes – despite all that needs to be done – we find ourselves procrastinating, and not doing much of anything. 

Enter the Guided One Hour Retreat.  One targeted hour with Cheryl Lyon, CPC , a certified life coach with a spiritual bent, a talent for seeing into the heart of things and the ability to chunk down tasks and see the natural order of things.   

Cheryl  (that's me) loves to help creative people who sometimes feel scattered or overwhelmed use their strengths to get things done, rather than spending all of their energy beating themselves up for not having enough self-discipline… or organization… or focus… or whatever. 

Use your session to:
  • Clarify your priorities and decide what needs to be done now and what can wait
  • Brainstorm marketing ideas
  • Get writing – on your blog, your newsletter, your webpage, or your e-book
  • Figure out how to use your time more effectively – and how to take some time off
  • Put together a project plan that will help you stay on track, without feeling boxed in
  • Explore ways to enjoy your work more AND find time to rest and play.
A bit about Cheryl:  I help professional women, solo-preneurs, and creative types stay on purpose and find ways of working that work for them.  I am a certified life coach.  When clients leave a session with me, they are usually calmer and more grounded AND they have a path forward – a concrete, practical plan to achieve their goals in ways that work for them.  

Most  of my recent clients have been women who consider themselves right-brained or creative and who sometimes struggle to do what they perceive to be left-brained tasks and to stay on track and get things done without feeling like they are on a forced march. I love to help women connect to their whole selves, stop beating themselves up, and use their strengths to find ways of working and getting things done that work for them.

These sessions are being offered at no charge in celebration of International Coach Week, to give more people a chance to experience coaching.  In lieu of payment, I request that you make a donation in whatever amount you choose to your favorite charity.  But that is entirely up to you.

This session is a real coaching session – not a consultation.  We will spend an hour focusing on whatever in your business needs the most attention right now.  (And if you're not sure what that is, we can start with clarifying that.)    This is a one-time, free-standing session – new clients only, please.  If we are having a grand time, I will ask you if you'd like to continue to work with me – but there will be no hard sell and no obligation, just an invitation. 

How to Claim Your Session:

Simply go to my online calendar at, and book yourself in.  Sessions are available at various times next week.  Only 8 sessions are available, so claim yours now before they are gone! 

Get clear, get focused, get going - and have a bit of fun along the way!
P.S. This offer is not limited to business owners or business projects.  If you have a personal project you need to get moving on, I'd love to coach you, too!  Book yourself into a session in my online calendar at and choose a time that works for you.


20 Minute Meditation "Retreats" - The Real Happiness 28 Day Challenge

As you may have guessed, I am a proponent of meditation.  The reason I love meditation is that it is a spiritual practice with very down-to-earth effects.

Meditation works. On the days that I meditate (and in the weeks and months that I maintain a regular meditation practice, even if not daily), my life runs more smoothly, with a greater sense of grace and flow. I am more open to the possibilities in front of me, rather than caught  up in what I need to get done by the end of the day or the end of the week.  I am calmer, more present, and more easily able to focus.  I am better able (and more likely) to respond rather than react when challenges present themselves or someone says something that ruffles my feathers.  I more often notice when I am taking on the energy of other people, so that I can put up my shield and mitigate its effects.

What do I mean by "meditation"?  Simply a focused time of silence and openness.  Sometimes that might mean paying attention to my breath.  Sometimes it may mean gazing into the light of a candle, and inviting light to flow into and through me.  Sometimes it may mean - gently and with genuine curiosity rather than judgment - watching my thoughts or exploring my emotions.  And sometimes it is something like prayer.

My clients often ask me how to get started with meditation, or how to keep at it when their lives get busy.

One excellent resource is the book Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg, which also includes a CD with four 20 minute audio meditations to help you get started.  This book was published in the UK under the more descriptive title: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Programme for Real Happiness.

I have been recommending this book to everyone I know:   Here's why:
  1. It's a simple, secular, "how to" manual for getting started with a meditative practice in 28 days.  Note:  you do not have to meditate every day to "succeed" with this program.  In fact, only three 20 minute periods are "required" in the first week of the program.  And if 20 minutes is too much, you may do 10 minutes, or even 5.  The important thing is not the amount of time but your intention to meditate regularly.

  2. It includes suggestions for a dozen or so different ways to meditate, so you can find one that works for you, or mix it up depending on your need or mood.

  3. It does not require a certain set of religous beliefs (or any religious belief).  It is a practical, down to earth guide that provides a road map from one who has gone before - and taught countless others (include brief bio of Salzberg).  Patterns of how we can trip ourselves up.

  4. Most of all, for the constant refrain of "it's never too late to begin again."  If you set aside 20 minutes to meditate and realize on minute 18 that your mind has been wandering the entire time, you simply begin again with the next breath. 

  5. The hard copy book (but, alas, not the Kindle version) includes a CD with audio instructions for four of the meditations, for those who prefer to learn auditorily.
What I found from following this program last September:
  • Reading just a few pages every now and again helped me digest the material and helped keep my attention on my intention.

  • The audios reinforced the reading, and gave me practice "cues."

  • I became much gentler (more compassionate) toward myself, and started extending the compassion I extend to others also to myself.

  • I became much more aware of how critical and negative one of my inner voices is, and learned to see the critical tone as a signal that part of me was feeling neglected, or worried, and to listen for the positive message seeking to be expressed.
I am feeling the need, as I do periodically, to be more intentional about my meditation practice, so I will be taking the 28 day challenge again starting February 1st.   I invite you to join me.  The challenge does not require you to meditate for 28 days straight.  In fact, the first week "requires" that you meditate only 3 times, and only for as long as seems possible.  Five or ten minutes three times a week is enough to make a difference.

I'd love to know if you will be joining me.  Please comment below and let me know.