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Emotional and spiritual retreat for women

Tammy Dowling was a single mom juggling 12-hour days at the office.

She struggled for ten years and then, in 2009, reached her breaking point.

“I was at a point where I just wanted to surrender,” said Mrs Dowling, the former director of a day care centre in Alberta, Canada. “You know that feeling where you say ‘I'm done' and ‘I can't do any more'?”

“It wasn't the kind of space you want to be. You feel defeated. You know you're doing your best in one area or the other, but overall you aren't satisfied with yourself. I hadn't accomplished anything yet for me, just for others.”

A life coach provided the solution to her woes. According to Mrs Dowling, it was “the best money she had ever spent”.

“It was the first time I had ever really invested in me,” the 41-year-old said. “It changed my life completely for the better.”

She eventually gave up her job and worked towards her dream of becoming a life coach. With both her daughters grown up, she felt it was a good time to focus on herself.

It helped that her Bermudian husband, Charles Dowling, was supportive.

“[He said], ‘Everyone is out of the house, you have taken care of your responsibilities, come here with me to Bermuda'. So I picked up and moved.”

Three months later, she was ready to get back to work.

She took an online course with Quantum Success Coaching Academy in 2012 and then launched a business — Love, Passion and Joy (LPJ) Coaching.

“I named it that because that's what we're all striving for in our lives,” she said.

“There are a lot of women who are stuck in a rut. As women we wear a lot of hats — as nurturers and caregivers — and are always taking care of others except ourselves.

“We almost forget what we want out of life because we are so focused on children, our partners or family and then we get to a point where we say, ‘What's my purpose? What am I supposed to be doing right now?'. A lot of us don't know what steps to take to figure out what's next. So I help them with that by creating a strategy and giving them homework. It's about a lot of self-care and self-love; activities they need to do to get in touch with themselves again.”

As part of that she is offering an emotional and spiritual retreat for women from October 8 to 12.

It will include one-on-one coaching sessions; yoga, belly dancing and meditation classes, as well as instruction on astrology and numerology.

Women will be encouraged to share their stories and take part in fun activities and crafts. “I really needed an event where I could be around like-minded women, but I couldn't find anything,” she said.

“I did find one and contacted the lady, but she said it wasn't going ahead. I was quite disappointed because I had a few girls interested in joining me and since then I hadn't seen anything I could hop on to just for women to take time out and just be themselves.

“It's something very important to me. I know the women I do work with and the women I'm surrounded by and they look for things like this to do.

“They need a space where they can just take some time out for themselves. Something that's more than just an evening workshop or two days; where they can step away and have a breather to meditate and think.”

The life coach says she wants women to leave feeling more confident with the curves life throws at them.

“For some women it's relationships, with others it's career-oriented. Some are OK with their job, but that's not what they want to do. They don't know how to leave that safe space and follow their passions.

“So helping them with the transition makes them feel more empowered and reassures them they're in control of their lives and their destinies.”

• Tickets to the four-day retreat are $685 and available at www.ptix.bm.

• Visit www.lpjcoaching.com for more information.

Turning lives around: Tammy Dowling, 41, launched her business as a life coach in 2012. She is holding a four-day retreat for women at Spirit House in October, featuring meditation, yoga and life-coaching sessions (Photograph supplied)
<p>Advice from life coach Tammy Dowling</p>

1. Find a quiet time

Sometimes women try to do too many things at once and feel like they don’t have time to decompress. Even a 20-minute break can make a difference. “Just take time to sit by yourself and do nothing, or get a bath,” Mrs Dowling said.

“It’s so important because we need to take time out to clear our minds and be still.

“If our minds are not clear we can’t get motivated because there’s too much in our heads. Taking yourself away from whatever it is that is overwhelming you will help a great deal.”

2. Go outside

Nature has a way of calming us down, Mrs Dowling said. “Go outside, take your shoes off and go for a walk in the sand or in the grass. Don’t forget to look at, and appreciate, all the beauty around you.”

3. Write a gratitude journal

Mrs Dowling makes a daily list of everything she’s grateful for. “That takes us away from the negativity that we tend to focus on for most of the day,” she said. “Instead of thinking about what’s not working or going right, it changes your perspective. Even if you’re just grateful for waking up in the morning or having a car to get you to work, it’s a good start.”

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Published August 19, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated August 19, 2015 at 12:19 am)

Emotional and spiritual retreat for women

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