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January 2010 Girltalk: The Feminine Super-Power of PAUSE

Happy New Year, Girlfriends! It’s time to reflect on the year that’s been and claim the year to come. Instead of running into your year, stop, reflect, give some real and wise thought to 2010 and move forward with focus, intention and heart. Get your Girltalk…Taking it Deeper™ group together and use this January discussion guide by Christine Arylo to take your year in the best possible direction. To download a printable PDF of this month’s discussion guide, click here. To learn more about starting your own Girltalk group (it’s totally free and you’ll receive the discussion guide each month), click here.

©Shiloh McCloud
©Shiloh McCloud

Be Real. Every year, it’s the same old drill, isn’t it? We start off with the best intentions, with gusto, resolved to reach our goals and make this ‘the’ year. But by February that gusto has been drained down by the overwhelm, pressure and realities of day-to-day life. Come October, we’re wondering where the year went, and not feeling quite as successful as we had hoped we would when the year started. And then without warning, it’s Thanksgiving, then December and a flurry of presents and parties. Before we know it, January 1 has arrived, and with it the immense pressure to make this ‘the’ year.

If you are a Type A person, you likely go into New-Year’s-resolution and goal-setting mode. If you are the Type B variety, you’re likely more relaxed and avoid serious goal-setting, stepping into the new year with faith that it will all work out. The truth is that neither of these strategies work. Type A or Type B, these approaches are insane. They keep you doing the same thing year after year expecting different results, which by definition is insanity.

Be Wise. This year, instead of running from the holidays into the New Year without really stopping to decide where you want to go before you take off full force to get there, dare to take a pause! Dare to avoid the three biggest mistakes people make when approaching their new year, and instead take the wiser path. Which ones have you fallen into? And what is the deeper wisdom?

Mistake #1: Not stopping to reflect on the year that has passed. Going from one year into the next, without stopping to recognize all that has happened, is like living your life like a mountain climber, arriving at the mountain top of each year, but not stopping to take in the view that you worked so hard to achieve. Instead, you just take a quick breath, and keep pushing up the next mountain, the next year, without celebrating my successes or learning from your failures. No wonder you are exhausted. No surprise that you don’t feel like you really accomplished what you wanted; all you could see was the next mountain.

Wise Truth: In order to grow, we must stop, celebrate, reflect and learn at the end of every cycle.

Mistake #2:   Pressuring yourself to have your entire year mapped out by the first week of January. While one week at the beginning of the year may seem reasonable, this approach fails to realize that you are working against nature. December is meant to be a time of slowing down and going inward, not running around like a maniac visiting people and shopping for presents. People and presents good, mania not. One should start their year-end process way before January 1. And if you didn’t, it’s okay, you’ve got the whole month of January to catch up. January is called the ‘dreaming time.’ It is called that because everything is frozen and still. And so should we be. It’s a time to be in the nothingness to allow our year to show itself, to dream of what is possible, to expand into everything that your heart and soul really want. It’s also a time for making your dreams crystal clear so that by February you are ready to plant the seeds and watch them grown throughout the year. That is a lot to do! So our process of setting our intentions is a month long for a reason… to give us that long to dream our new year. Don’t try to stuff 30 days into a week!

Wise Truth. December is for reflecting. January is for dreaming and setting the intentions of what you will seed and grow in the coming year. Take all of that time, and your dreams unfold.

Mistake #3. Writing your goals with your head. Trained to think and live from our heads, trained to think dreams are fluffy, puffy events that happen when we sleep, too often we write goals through the lens of what drives our career, bank account and fitness level forward. We focus on the achievements we believe will bring us success. What we fail to realize is that our understanding of success is extremely limited and that the real goal of success is only one thing: happiness. And happiness doesn’t come from our heads, it starts in our hearts, which is the place from which we would all be better served to write our goals. Yes, our minds are extremely valuable, but they are only tools to making our dreams realities.

Wise Truth. Goals must start with the dreams we have for ourselves, which can only be found in our heart.

Be You.

Each of these mistakes can be boiled down to one thing: the failure to understand the power of PAUSE. Most women have been trained to hit the GO GO GO button all their life, and while that may make you a very good achiever, it also makes you a very busy and exhausted woman who doesn’t always spend her energy, time and money on what was is important, and what truly has the power to accelerate your progress to your dreams… or bring you happiness on a daily basis.

PAUSE is like a super power: When you activate it, PAUSE accelerates your ability to make your dreams realities because it provides you with something you can’t get when you are running through life as a frenzied, frazzled energizer bunny — PAUSE gives you wisdom.  Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple said in a commencement address in 2002 , “Wisdom, however, requires a pause… it is the pause that gives us clarity….”

This month at  Girltalk… taking it deeper™, I dare us all to give ourselves the gift of PAUSE by taking the entire month of January to reflect on the year that has been and to step forward into 2010 consciously, with intention and focus on what, where and how you want to spend your time, energy and money…to ultimately bring you the MOST happiness.

Step One: REFLECT on the Year that’s been & CLAIM a Mantra for the Year to Come

Take this adventure on your own, before getting together with your girlfriends. Your Mission: Gather all the wisdom from 2009 and state boldly what 2010 is all about for you.

There are many different processes one can go through to PAUSE, reflect on the year that has been and vision, dream and create the one to come. Over the past 7 years, I’ve developed a process that I’ve used to take my clients and groups of women to reflect, expand, and focus so they can energize a creative vision for their year

I call the experience the Feminine Super Power of PAUSE and I’m sharing the first part of it with you here, as your adventure to take for the month.

REFLECT… the how: Your goal is to reflect on your year by looking at your:

  1. Surprises – what happened that you didn’t expect. Can be happy or not so happy.
  2. Successes – what you are proud of, accomplishments, yahoos!, milestones, little and big….everything counts here. Gush away. Brag away. Tell the world, and yourself, how great you are. And make it more than a boring list. Really put the feeling of celebration into it.
  3. Failures – disappointments, struggles, things that didn’t work out as planned. Some people have a problem with this word, but really failures give you the biggest learnings and there is tremendous freedom in admitting they happened. (p.s. this list should be shorter than your success list).
  4. Learnings – what wisdom you have today that you didn’t last year. These are the gems you get to take with you into this new year and decade.

It’s important to reflect in exactly that order, 1-4. To get the most of this reflection process here are a few suggestions:

  • Set aside 1-2 hours by yourself, without distractions to reflect. No kids, TVs, radios or cell phones. Just you and your year.
  • Start by doing a visualization review of your year. Close your eyes and take yourself back to the beginning of 2009. See yourself standing in January 2009. Who were you? What were you doing? What was true about your life? Then move to February and ask yourself the same questions. Play the movie of your 2009 month by month, asking these same three questions, and seeing and remembering what happened.
  • Get a journal or some blank pieces of paper. On the top of the page write the section name that you are reflecting on, for example, Surprises. Then “Free Flow Write” everything that comes to mind. Don’t stop or judge just write. And when you feel like you have nothing left to write, stop, pause, remember, and write some more.
  • Go through all four sections. One by one. In the order laid out.
  • Ask yourself at the end three questions: 1. “What do I want to leave behind?” 2.“What do I want to take with me? 3. “Who am I stepping forward into this new year as? Who do I want to be?”

Step TWO:  Throw a Girltalk… taking it deeper™ Event with Your Girlfriends

Use our super dooper fun conversation technology – Be Real. Be Wise. Be You. – guaranteed to get you closer to yourself and your girlfriends. To get the skinny on how to start a Girltalk group, and how to facilitate a fabu Girltalk gathering, download the Girtalk… taking it deeper™ Getting Started Guide here.


Your goal here is to have each woman ‘check in’ on her personal experiment as a way to get the group connected. It’s a great primer for great girltalk!

  • Each woman says her name and then answers this question: “What I learned most about myself in 2009 was…”
  • Even if they didn’t do the experiment, they should be able to answer. If some women brought a visual of their experiment, let them know they can show it now or whenever they want throughout the night.
  • Go around the room until everyone has spoken. This will get you all connected enough to the conversation topic that you’ll be ready to Get Real!


The goal? Get the truth on the table. Say what needs to be said, but too often isn’t. Use these questions to get the conversation started, or to change gears as the girltalk grows. Use all of them, use some of them, whatever works to get the conversation real. Ask women to think about what they learned through their personal experiment as fodder for the conversation.

  • What were your biggest successes and failures in 2009?
  • What was easiest and hardest about doing this reflection process? What did you resist and what did jump into?
  • If you gave 2009 a name, a mantra, like the “Year of XXX” what would you call it and why?
  • 2009 was the year of the Ox (in Chinese astrology).  In what ways did this past year feel that way for you?
  • What about New Years Resolutions? Why don’t they work?


Now it’s time to bring the wisdom forward so that you can start bringing forward thoughts and ideas that are going to help and inspire you to create the life you really want.

  • Alice Walker says the wisdom is in the PAUSE. What did the pause give you? And how can we get more of it?
  • What is different about you today than at the start of 2009? How are you wiser?
  • What do you wish you knew at the beginning of this year that you figured out by the end?
  • What did you learn most about yourself by reflecting on your year?


Now it’s time to take action, to do something out of your comfort zone that has the potential to make real shift in your life. And like a dare, it has to push your edges.

  • Claim Your Year. If you gave 2010 a power mantra, “The Year of XXXX” what is it going to be?

To get more information on the Feminine Super Power of PAUSE, including a free audio of Christine teaching REFLECT, visit:

Have a great time Girltalking and inspiring each other to have your best year yet!

With big heart,


Christine Arylo

Chief Girltalker

Coming in February: Self-LOVE, baby! In a month that is all about love, we’ll be getting real and wise about the fact that you have to love YOU before you can love anyone else.

To learn more about Christine Arylo, creator of Girltalk… taking it deeper™, inspirational catalyst and self love expert, visit her at, a virtual cornucopia of self-love inspiration created just for you. JOIN the international self-love movement, MADLY IN LOVE WITH ME & download her free Madly in Love with ME Guide, full of daring and practical tips on how to fall more in love with you everyday, at

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