This month, Maddy Vertenten will help local women learn about resources and create daily practices for making self-care a priority. Vertenten, 44, a Bangor native who returned to the state from Austin, Texas, earlier this year, will be leading a four-part series, in conjunction with the Regional School Unit 5 Recreation and Community Education program for adults, called “Self-Care for Women.” The classes begin on Tuesday, Jan. 22 and continue on Jan. 29, Feb. 5 and Feb. 12.

Vertenten, who lives in Freeport with her husband and two children, has been facilitating women’s circles since 2005 after experiencing how her own self-care strategies positively impacted the relationships with her young children and husband, and her own sense of well-being

She founded Vibrant One in 2009 to help inspire other women to create what she deems a “healthy and beautiful life” through lifestyle changes, daily practices and self-care.

Vertenten recently took a few minutes to discuss the upcoming classes and her work with women with the Tri-Town Weekly.

Q: How did you get started leading women’s circles?

A: While living in Austin, I was invited to attend a private retreat for women in 2002, which changed the direction of my career and my life. It became very important for me to share the same kind of experience with other women. At first I simply facilitated reunions of my original group. This expanded into offering self-care groups with co-facilitators and also as lead facilitator. In the years since it began, I’ve expanded my training and worked with some incredible teachers around the country in many aspects of women’s health and well-being.

Q: Have the self-care groups helped you in your life?

A: I used to be part of the “I’m so busy” club. I would meet women friends, school moms and fall easily into general conversation about my workload or kids’ extracurricular activities or whatever else might be available to complain about. Coming together with a group of women with the specific intention to improve our self-care gave me first a set of tools and practices to incorporate into my life, which added to my overall well-being. Second, I got to hear from other women what worked (or didn’t) for them, and this kind of dialogue led to greater intimacy, deeper sharing, a sense of sisterhood that I’d never had before. These two things have become vitally important to how I live my life each day. I tend to my personal needs consistently, and the friendships I cherish and cultivate are authentic ones. I don’t do the “woe is me” chit chat anymore. I’d much rather get to know people really, in a way that we can brighten each other’s day.

Q: What can women expect from these upcoming self-care classes?

A: Each one of the four classes will focus on a particular area of self-care: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. There will be guided journaling and group “heart-storming” exercises, specific practices shared and resources for further exploration. The idea is to help facilitate each woman’s inner knowing of what her unique needs and desires are, and to give her the tools to practice and deepen care in the ways she craves the most. I like a small group so that everyone is engaged, and I create a safe and private environment to facilitate authentic connection.

Q: Why is self-care important for women?

A: We very often put ourselves last. Self-care is easily confused with selfish. We’ve been taught to be “good” daughters, spouses, moms, co-workers and caretakers. We then find ourselves caring for everyone but ourselves, sacrificing our own physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health in the process. We can burn out, asking silent questions like, “Is this all there is to my life? Why is my energy so low? How do I get back to who I thought I was?” Not only do we suffer from this syndrome, but also our daughters grow up to follow our silent example. Our sons may grow up to believe women are long-suffering. The possibility of vital, beautiful, loving relationships is diminished in the wake of our lack of attentive care to our own well-being.

Q: Are these classes geared toward any specific age group, or can they help women of all ages?

A: I tend to speak to moms of school-age children because this is the stage of life that I’m currently in. However the best women’s circles I’ve been involved in included women from their 20s up to their 80s. This is the brilliance of a women’s circle, the opportunity to hear and share from each part of life experience and ultimately, to understand our common predicament, questions, and universal bond.

Q: What is Vibrant One? When did you start it?

A: I created Vibrant One in 2009 to help people create what I call a “healthy and beautiful life.” Healthy refers to all aspects of well-being, a whole-life approach. And beautiful to me means “resonance.” This means creating a life that resonates with personal meaning, unique purpose and a loving connection to others. Through my website VibrantOne.com, I share online courses, private coaching, wellness programs, local events, and weekly Vibrant Life Notes for subscribers.

Q: What changes can women make to their lifestyles to help improve their lives and relationships?

Here are a couple of my easy favorites:

In the car, turn off the radio and enjoy silence.

Begin a gratitude practice, end each day by reflecting on two or three specific things you appreciate about the day before falling asleep. After some practice, this is fun to share with loved ones at the dinner table (kids love it!).

I also like to begin each day with a moment to tune in. Most people wake up and immediately begin running through their mental to-do list. Instead, take a moment to simply breathe (tell your thoughts you’ll be there in a minute!) and then do a quick body scan, notice any areas of discomfort or need for greater care.

Last, find ways to treat yourself the way you wish to be treated. Do you love fresh flowers in winter? Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up one of the day-old arrangements or even a single stem (self-care need not be expensive) to place on your bedside table or desk, just for you, from you.

These kinds of simple practices, when they are practiced with regularity, begin to make a noticeable shift in our overall outlook. And you’ll notice your appreciation for others improves along with your appreciation for yourself.

Q: What resources are available to help women with self-care?

A: There are some wonderful books, websites and radio programs available. A visit to the library or quick Google search will yield countless possibilities. One of my favorites is Louise Hay, the founder of Hay House publishing and Hay House Radio. Her book, “You Can Heal Your Life,” is a wonderful resource for people seeking ways to work with their physical healing, which often means healing in others parts of our lives. Renee Peterson Trudeau is a dear friend from Austin who wrote “The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal,” which is a simple workbook I use in my own life and in women’s circles. I give it as a gift to most mom friends I know. One of my favorite online resources for daily insight is TheDailyLove.com.

Maddy Vertenten


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