• Travel—the Elixer of Life!

    Cafe in FranceFrom the age of 16, I’ve always loved to travel after a life-changing experience as an AFS exchange student to Brazil. With my newly issued passport, I clearly remember sitting in SFO waiting for a flight to New York City and then on to Rio De Janeiro. Looking back at my parents as they waved good-bye at the gate (obviously back in the pre-TSA days), I still remember the excitement, fear, and heightened sense of anticipation as I boarded on my very first flight. Since then, I seem to always be planning the “next trip”. I thrive on travel. Not only the trip itself, but the planning, anticipation and the pre-trip excitement. I just don’t understand people when they say they rarely ever go on vacation!

    With all its frustration, too small seats in crowded planes, extra fees, and petty inconveniences, travel continues to fully engage me and during trips I really stay in present. Studies show that travel improves our physical and mental well-being. I’m sure its partly due to the heightened awareness we have when we are out of our routines. Also, I always walk more when I’m on a trip than I ever seem to at home and it feels so effortless. (A real bonus is regardless of what I eat, I never gain weight while traveling.) I remember a recent trip to Paris and all the walking we did. Who hasn’t walked from dawn to dusk all over a new city, exploring streets, aware of architecture, people watching, and the variety of sights, smells and sounds? I have been keenly aware of the sensory feast in a Greek spice market, the sounds of waves crashing as we walked along on a Hawaiian beach, and the stunning vibrant autumn leaves along the Blue Ridge Highway in Virginia— all remain vivid reminders of travel. I was fully engaged in those experiences, my level of everyday stress was reduced, and I felt much more in the flow of life.

    In an excellent article published by the Global Coalition on Aging , the authors discuss the physical, mental and emotional benefits of travel. Perhaps it’s not that healthy people travel, rather people who travel and remain active are healthier! In one study, women who travel twice a year are statistically less likely to have a heart attack than those who travel once every 4 years! So, for your heart’s sake, plan a trip!

    There are many, many wonderful travel blogs and one I suggest is The World According to Barbara, a delightful travel log by a woman in mid-life…well written and inspiring.

    More later as I share some of my travels and insights, and of course the health benefits! And if you have a favorite blog or a comment about how travel has made you healthier, let us know in the comments below.


  • One Women’s Journey and a Mantra

    oceanI was profoundly awed by one woman this week. With little fanfare, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida. The stats were impressive–over 103 miles, 53 hours, 23 knot squalls and 3 foot waves. This was  her 5th attempt at 64 years old, 35 years after her first attempt when she was 29 years old. Amazing!

    To achieve her goal, the challenges were formidable. Sharks, jellyfish stings and other sealife issues, hallucinations, tongue swelling, and nausea were just a few. Yet she did it!  She trained. She researched and found  successful shark deterrents, she wore a specially designed, thin-nylon “jellyfish” suit and applied a special face cream to prevent bites and stings. She also had a team of five boats, several divers, physicians, and kayakers along on her quest. Then she looked out over that expanse of ocean, dove into into the water and began swimming.

    When Diana finished, she shared her three messages, “One, never give up; two, you’re never too old to chase your dream; and three, it looks like a solitary sport, but is it a team effort.”

    How inspiring for everyone—especially those of us sixty and older. After hearing of her feat, I’m applying her lessons to my life and my dreams. Are those dreams lingering from my twenties still possibly attainable today? Yes, definitely. (Fortunately, they don’t entail water.) Can I identify the obstacles and figure out ways to overcome them? Yes, with research and continually seeking answers to issues as they arise. (Interestingly, I don’t even consider age an obstacle.) Are there people who can be part of my “team” to help me achieve my goals? Absolutely! Some I already know and others I will meet along the way. My determination factor could be kicked up, but I find that one small step forward generally leads to another and another.

    Diana Nyad also had a mantra to get her through all of the physical, emotional, and mental  challenges along her journey.  Her mantra “find a way“.

    What dreams linger just below the surface, waiting for you to get going? I encourage you to dive into your dream.

    As I stand looking out to my ocean, I’m diving in.  I am going to definitely “find a way”.  Stay tuned!



  • Big Leaps and Baby Steps

    In  times of major transitions, we impatiently want to leap ahead of ourselves and onto the next thing.  Often without much thought. In my experience, this rarely works….the best forward movement in these times seems to be by small turtle steps.  Remember the tortoise and the hare?  Most of us have moved through our lives like that rabbit….hopping along and moving quickly. We dart around to get where we need to be, avert possible disasters, and react to the immediate situation.

    Now consider the turtle who slowly moves ahead and arrives (in the story at least) well before the rabbit shows up.  Another thing about the turtle, she has everything she needs with her.  Aren’t we really more like a turtle at this stage in our lives as we move forward with all we need, including self-protection?  It simply requires slower, smaller steps along the way.

    I am learning this “turtle step” business.  Before, I would add to my ever-expanding “to-do”list—write book, run 1/2 marathon, lose 20 pounds, and take vacation. Could I do any of these in one giant leap?  Of course not. Plus each of them is overwhelming in magnitude and would stress me out.  I either sat frozen in place or darted around like a crazy rabbit!

    When I break the big stuff down to one small thing at a time, it feels inconsequential, but surprisingly it gets done. And that leads me to the next small step and then the next…and before you know it, I’m there.

    So, wherever “there” is for you….start with a small step.  And before you know it, you’ll arrive at your destination.




  • What’s a girl to do?

    After college I worked for a typewriter company selling ancient pre-computer writing devices. At the ripe old age of twenty seven, I retired for the next 18 years to rear my two children. At age forty five, I began thinking about rejoining the adult world and took a look around to see what that was all about. I realized the working world had changed and my skills were as ancient as the devices I used to sell. What’s a girl to do?

    Reinvent Yourself!

    Many opportunities that were once an option no longer exist, while new possibilities abound.  I took some time to look back, way back, to find a thread of an interest that has always been there, undiminished by time or circumstances. I heard that you should do what you loved as a ten year old. Hmmmm? I jokingly told a close friend “all I really loved as a ten year old was to play with my friends and have fun”. “That’s it!” she said, “That’s exactly what you do best, you are doing what you were meant to do!”  WOW, it’s true! That is how I run my business, my life, and what my workshops are all about. Maybe there is something to the idea.

    Give it a try. Think back to a time in your life before the world had an impact on you and remember what you loved…

    Nancy B


  • If not now, when…?

    I’ve noticed I’ve been asking myself this questions quite often lately.  In many areas of my life.  It’s usually something that’s been in my life for quite awhile and it now feels unsettling, boring, not fun anymore, or even worse it brings me down. It just doesn’t “feel” right.  This discomfort can be in our careers, activities, friendships, clothes, or home surroundings–any aspect of our lives. It’s important we notice these nudges that tell us something has shifted. Over time, they do become more frequent, louder,and persist until they demand our attention to do something! If we don’t acknowledge and take action, these things erode our passion, excitement and joy in our lives.

    What’s nudging you? For today, simply notice it…no action needed now. Just play with the possibility that all the time, space, and energy taken up by “that which doesn’t feel right” could be filled with something which delights and excites.  It’s up to us to open our senses to the wonder, beauty and pure joy that surrounds us.



  • How we got started (from Cherryll’s perspective)

    A few years ago, I met Nancy at an evening meditation group.  There was something about her. I wanted to get to know her better.  It wasn’t anything she said or did—it was more how she was “present” in the room and her laugh!   Fast forward to now–we’ve become great friends and started this venture, Hour Glass Workshops together.

    We are the “yin and yang” of friendship.  Two women.  Blonde and brunette. Recently married and recently divorced. Former stay-at-home-mom and lifelong business woman.  Lace and cotton!  We arrived at this time of transition from very different life backgrounds and life experiences.  We are two women asking the same questions about our place in the world and what we are going to do in the second half.

    This point of transition for us both is that moment when what worked in yesterday’s life isn’t working now. So we kept talking, reading,  sharing, laughing,  and asking questions of ourselves, our choices, and futures.  Business, kids, relationships, weight, finances, health, change, letting go and reaching out—as women in transition.

    Not from fear, desperation or pain. Rather a shared curiosity and passion to bring something more into our lives and more of ourselves into life!

    As women, we invite you to explore this transition, this next great time in our lives.  Together, individually, seeking or allowing, however it feels right to you, please join us.  We’ll bring to our community our questions, share honestly what we’ve learned, what we know to be true from our perspectives, and share with you resources and tools.  Above all, enjoy, explore and have fun along the way!

  • Are You Asking What Now or What Next?

    The Hourglass Workshops are the answer for anyone experiencing a life change on the mid-life journey. We all have change in the mid-life; whether it is empty nest, job loss, retirement, divorce, remarriage, elder care, illness, menopause, or the good old fashioned mid-life crisis. The question is how do you get through it and redefine the “Next Step” in life. Join our online community, we’re all having fun and learning something new along the way.

    Our fun and exciting workshops are designed to help you move forward in a positive way by getting in touch with old passions and reconnecting with self again, after years of putting others first. As we age we have lost much of our childlike ways, we don’t delight in play or daydreams as we once did. Those qualities are not lost, they have been forgotten and can be recovered to improve the rest of your life. The workshops help you identify and re-establish those happy qualities to enjoy life more now and in your future. Watch for upcoming workshops in your area.

    What is your dream? Remember, the one that everyone around you either tried to talk you out of, or ignored to the point of causing you to abandon it. It’s time to dust off that dream again. The Hourglass Workshops tools help you identify what brings you the deepest satisfaction, and what you truly desire. You become reacquainted with the sensual side of life and identify what delights you. Your dreams are what light you up inside and make you beautiful. When you are in touch with them you are more motivated, attractive and radiant. Life is good.

  • Introducing Cherryll

    I’m Cherryll Sevy and I’ve joined Nancy Burns on this adventure called Hourglass Workshops.

    At 60 (just over a year ago), I ran my first 1/2 marathon.  I was 57 when I married for the second time, after nearly 20 years of being a single mom of two sons and juggling a successful career and generally busy, happy life. My sons are grown, living their own wonderful lives, and many of my long time friends have experienced major transitions in their lives as well.

    My roles, responsibilities, time demands and interests have shifted dramatically.  The time, energy and focus previously spent on kids’ activities and building my business has shifted, giving me time to reflect–what a luxury!

    Ok, so what do I want this next phase in my life to be and what do I want more (or less) of?   I have always been fit and blessed with good health, so I decided to step that up a bit.  Who knew that  stepping up meant running 13.1 miles and enjoying the process?  Who knew I’d remarry and begin sharing my life as a couple?  Who knew I’d want more color, lace and champagne in my life?  This made me begin to wonder what’s next and what do I want and need for a vibrant, meaningful and fun future?

    I want to explore this journey and redefining with other like minded women.  My journey began–either by choice, circumstance or I just woke up one morning and things didn’t feel right anymore…so, join us on this adventure we call the “second half.”

  • Who are we?

    Hi I’m Nancy and this is a brief introduction of myself and Cherryll. We are women. We are the Yin and Yang of women, the black and white with all the colors in between. We are different from each other and yet at the same time we are complimentary.  Sounds a little obtuse? Let me explain, we are both business owners, mothers of two children, we even drive the same car, mine is black hers is white, and we are as the French say “Women of a certain age”.

    Cherryll is blonde and I’m a brunette (and our hairstylists will swear to it). Cherryll is a highly respected, established career woman. She reared her two boys as a single mom for most of their lives. She remarried after her boys were grown and launched, just about the time I was leaving my marriage. I had been a stay at home mom married for 30 years to a Silicon Valley CEO. As my 2 children began leaving the nest I went back to school to become a doctor of Chinese Medicine. About the time Cherryll had successfully secured her financial future and then a wonderful husband I jumped into the abyss, I began my new career as I ended my marriage.

    How did we get together and why did we click with seemingly different lives? We are women and women support each other. We had something to teach each other and ultimately share with you. Cherryll shares my optimism, enthusiasm, thirst for knowledge, and has a delightful sense of humor. We liked each other immediately and so began a great friendship.

    We are on a journey and we’d like you to join us, even jump in and contribute. Cherryll and I have learned a lot of lessons, albeit different ones, and that’s the beauty of it. Women base life on relationship, we want to share what we know with you and at the same time we want to hear from you. We will all move forward on our individual journey a little wiser for having traveled this part together because after all … We are Women.

    Nancy B

  • What’s Hourglass Workshops All About?


    Hi I’m Nancy Burns and I thought I would tell you how Hourglass Workshops came about. I received a beautiful hourglass on my 21st birthday from my best friend and have loved it ever since, it reminds me of her every time I look at it. One day while gazing at it I was remembering our single years, all the fun we had, and how carefree life was for us. As I looked at it and contemplated what had come since that time; moves away from each other, marriages, children, loss of parents, my divorce, her cancer, beginning my business as she retired, it became apparent the hourglass is like our lives. Life is slipping through our fingers like the sand in the hourglass and there is a time when we stand alone facing life’s challenges and ask “What’s next”?

    The Hourglass is the symbol I chose to represent the message of my workshops. It can be looked at as the eternal representation of the feminine image. In a more concrete way it is the visual of the passage of time and how it slips away while we are watching. I view it as a beginning or the first half, a middle, and a second half. It’s the middle, your middle years, that we are working with in the workshops.

    Our journey is not unlike the grain of sand traveling through the hourglass. We begin our life with all the possibilities before us and no responsibilities. The sand begins its journey unencumbered with plenty of space and nothing but time. As we get older life becomes more complicated, more responsibilities as we are pushed and pulled by life. The sand begins its descent toward its finial destination and the space becomes more crowded, and the individual grain of sand is influenced by those around it, like us. The closer it gets to the center the greater the pressure until it is squeezed into a position of standing on its own.
    Alone it makes the passage, just like our own journey through midlife. This can be a time when we feel overwhelmed, confused, and possibly very much alone, maybe for the very first time.

    Pressures in our lives become greater and we are challenged by a major change or even a crisis; job loss, new career, empty nest, retirement, divorce, menopause, or death of those close to us. This is the time we question everything that has come before and wonder what is next? As the sand drops into the “second half” once again life is expanded and all the new possibilities exist again, just as life offers us a new way of being. How you define your next stage of our journey is up to you. Remember you are not alone.