Sharpening Self-Care

Dear Community,

Wherever you find yourself in these rapidly changing times, life holds constant potential for the emergence of the good.  In even the darkest times of 2020, I found that the hard stuff was easier and more bearable with contemplating new possibilities. The new year is a great time to for resetting priorities and sharpening skills for self-care.  Coaching support is available here and see mind-body offerings below for support with reducing stress and increasing energy.  Here is an article on Evidenced Based Health Benefits of Practicing Qigong.

In the midst of this global healthcare crisis, I am moved by our providers unceasing devotion.  Over the holidays, Julie Tom, my dearest childhood friend, passed away from early Alzheimer’s at the age of 64.  While not wanting to let go, her providers were profoundly helpful guides when considering quality of life decisions.

The experience of witnessing this beloved friend’s rapid decline brought additional pause and incentive for understanding more about the brain and taking good care.  In Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s new book, Keeping Sharp, Build a Better Brain at Any Age, he speaks of Five Pillars of Brain Health:

  • Move – Physical exertion has scientifically been proven to improve brain health and function.  When moving, you are signaling to the brain, I want to be here!
  • Discover –  Get outside your comfort zone and learn a new skill or language.  It’s change that builds resiliency and asking what is my purpose?
  • Relax – Stress is particularly subversive, so we need to find ways to unwind and get restorative sleep.  Poor sleep and chronic stress can lead to impaired memory diminishing ability to adapt to new situations.
  • Nourish – Eat well, as diet affects brain health (and overall health, too).  The human gut microbiome – trillions of bacteria that make their home in our intestines – also have a profound affect on the functioning of our brains.
  • Connect – Gather (socially distant) where possible for interaction.  Certain beneficial neurochemicals are released when looking another in the eye.  Taking a brisk walk with a friend and talking about challenges can be extremely beneficial for the brain!

Embracing Self-Care as Primary Care

Dear Community,

Fall is upon us and so is the opportunity for taking better care of ourselves.  My heart goes out to those of you who have been impacted by the recent wildfires.  The devastation from these fires has distilled what’s most important.  When all else falls away, what’s left is our love and care for one another. Coaching support is available here.  And see a free mind-body class below for support with self-care.

“As warriors in training we cultivate the courage and flexibility to live with uncertainty, with the shaky tender feeling of anxiety and nothing to hold on to – and to dedicate our lives to making ourselves available to every person, in every situation.”  – Author unknown

This powerful quote speaks to the challenges of meeting multiple needs.  It also raises the question about how does one best manage the impact of trauma?  In Dr. James Gordon’s new book The Transformation:  Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma he shares a model for relieving biological and psychological trauma, decreasing anger, improving sleep, mood and enhancing hope. 

He states: “Self-Care is the True Primary Care.”
If you are looking for support for recovering from what has been a challenging time, enjoy this wonderfully uplifting resource!

Sustaining Your Health 
The fall can be a restorative time for reflection and slowing down.  Balancing moving with sitting is essential for our vitality.  Holden Qigong is a mind-body practice that is a practical tool for maintaining health and building your immune system.  Join me for a new seven week class combining 5 Aspects of Whole HealthTM and Five Element Qigong.  In Qigong for Sustaining Resiliency learn health concepts and mindfulness tools for calming for your mind, relaxing your heart and replenishing for your body.

Complimentary Offerings

Wednesdays:  Qigong for Sustaining Resiliency
October 7 – November 18, 2020
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM, (PST)
See Flyer
To register go to
 Zoom Meeting Link

Fridays:  Weekly Qigong Practice
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM, (PST) 

Zoom Meeting Link  

Thank you for your ongoing support!

If you are experiencing benefits from these Holden Qigong practices, donations welcome!
(Suggested donation, $10 per class)

Venmo:  @Teddy-Gardner
Checks:  Can be mailed to the footer address below

“As we learn to accept and embrace rather than flee from or numb ourselves to trauma’s challenges, we can discover, that our greatest pain can teach us the most important truths about ourselves:  who we are and how inextricably connected we are to one another, what gives our lives Meaning and Purpose; and how we can live with greater wisdom, compassion, joy and love.”
-James Gordon, MD

Sending Love and Resources


It’s been said, “It’s never too late to make the next best decision.”

Along with many who are struggling right now in this soul crushing time, I’ve been hesitant to write.  However, while pondering pain in the world, possibilities and passion, my heart felt called to share what’s new with Partnership-Works and about a free offering, that you may find enlivening.  See complimentary movement offering below.

Partnering with our minds and bodies for well-being is it’s own practice.  As many of you know, in 2017 I became certified as a Whole Health Educator through the National Institute of Whole Health.   This work has brought deeper understanding to “how much” stress influences breakdown of our immune system, leading to new resources for coaching clients.  The good news is, even when our health gets knocked down, our bodies are working on our behalf in every moment towards recalibration.

Given circumstances of the worldwide coronavirus, do you feel like you are being transformed?  For those of you feeling like it is burning away old ways of doing and calling up new ways of being, coaching support is available here.

In this time of extraordinary suffering, we have all witnessed health care workers and business owners facing uncharted territories of stress.  If you are a provider or business leader looking for tools to help manage stress, there are a couple of local organizations that may be able to help.  Mindful Medicine has several new offerings for providers and Transforming Communication offers organizations a unique dialogue process for freeing up patterns of harmful communication, while bringing cohesion to their mission.  It is an honor to be partnering with both of these groups committed to elevating resources for health, leadership and community building.  

Having a mindfulness practice is foundational to one’s sanity and well-being, especially these days.  Health is enhanced through the practice of Qigong which comes from the Chinese Health Care tradition.  It is a transformative practice for decreasing stress and increasing energy.

Holden QiGong  is a game changer for improving one’s vitality.  Currently participating in their teacher-training program, I am inspired to share a series of Qigong movements, postures and meditations for enhancing immunity and resiliency.  Please join me for this virtual practice:

Complimentary Qigong Offering: 

Time: July & August
Fridays, 8:00 AM – 8:30 AM, Pacific Time

Register in advance, at Zoom Meeting Link 
You are welcome “anytime” throughout! 
The practices will be calming for the mind, relaxing for your heart and replenishing for your body.

Questions feel free to call, text or email me. Tel: (503) 318.7975

Warm Wishes for Peace & Health,

Teddy Gardner, M.Ed, PCC, WHE
Executive Coach and Whole Health Educator

Read the entire July 2020 Newsletter here

Make It A Great Day

DSCN1900This week a colleague shared the meaning of his “tag line.” It was a heart stopping conversation.

His brother has been a quadriplegic since his early twenties after a freak fall. Having worked in rehabilitation, I was curious about his story.

He married a woman with cerebral palsy knowing they would not have long together. Given she too was confined to a wheel chair, their primary connection was face to face conversation.

Most relationships are enriched and complicated by differences of values, where we live, work, social engagements, travel, sex, sports, health, intellectual stimulation, attraction, family issues, etc. We make it about all of that! These two made it work within the confines of full bodied presence to one another.

For work, he makes websites for people with disabilities through use of voice command technology. Sometimes in the process he gets bedsores and the only way he can heal is through laying flat for weeks at a time, being turned frequently.

One day, his brother asked him, how do you do it? How do you lay there for hours doing nothing?

He replied, “It’s what I must do to live.”

This amazing man could be complaining and, instead, finds the resiliency to encourage others by frequently saying, “Make it a great day!”

My friend stated, “He’s always reminding me…” “This is why it’s my tag line.”

What grace at work!

Answering the call to help others

DSC_1079Whether you are a medical professional, academic, executive leader, business owner, mom or manager, you are committed to offering care to those you serve.

While this is an enriching rewarding path, it can be extremely demanding, even draining at times. Where do you find support in face of depleting energy?

As a professional and a caregiver, I understand. My own journey through divorce took me to a place with having felt exhausted, yet unable to sleep well, overwhelmed by needs of those around me, and feeling as though there was no time to stop and restore myself. I was building a coaching practice, participating in training for furthering my education and raising two amazing sons. This life transition involved not only loss and grief, but relearning how to be in the world on my own. While my story is not uncommon in many ways; it has been expanding, heart opening and grown my compassion.

Initially, my unconscious “strategy” was to keep busy. I thought everything would be okay if I just kept moving forward and kept my head above water. Well, I was wrong. I couldn’t sleep. I became increasingly exhausted and agitated, encountering anger. I used to see anger as bad, as something to fear or push away. I now know it is a messenger, inviting one to look at something deeper that wants our attention.

One day, I realized…“I need to stop. I need to take a moment and take a breath.”

This was the beginning of my becoming mindful, taking time to breathe and hearing myself, finally, seeing what was truly important. My practice with Vipassana meditation introduced me to a new sweet spot inside, offering more clarity, focus and peace. There was a coming home to what I call the heartbeat of life.

One of the things I’m most grateful for in my own experience – both the good and the challenging – is how my mindfulness practice has grown my self-compassion, along with empathy for others. In fact, I really believe it has saved my life. How? As I’ve been faced with loss, grief and change, I’ve found mindfulness to be a gateway to joy.

Mindfulness has created a new place of freedom. Given the gifts of the practice and learning that keeps evolving, I am committed to serving other professionals and caregivers who want support for accessing their own peace, tools for greater well-being and leadership.