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You Only Have One Life To Live. Be Proud of Yourself.

I found the recent speech from Tracee Ellis Ross at Glamour Magazine's 2017 Women of the Year Summit truly inspiring. She was talking about the societal pressure on her being 45 and single with no children. Though I am the opposite, married with a child, the plight of the feminine is universal.  (Ironically her mother Diana Ross, is my ultimate icon. I actually wanted to be The Boss for most of my youth. Yes, I can sing. ) Tracee was saying how she was free flowing writing in her journal and wrote the words...“My life in mine.” She stopped dead in her tracks. This true awareness was life-changing for her. She stated... “I've become the woman that I am very proud to be.” Are you proud of who you are today?  I hope so. If not, than you know it's time to make some changes.

I LOVE the title Tracee gave herself: RULEBREAKER IN CHIEF. It's time to take some risks if you are holding back.

I LOVE the title Tracee gave herself: RULEBREAKER IN CHIEF. It's time to take some risks if you are holding back.

YES, your life is yours. We do not have to conform to all these societal norms. Sometimes when we do, we end up miserable.  Even when I am upset about a specific situation, I am reminded that when I look at life as a whole, my life is beautiful. I inherently know yours is too.

It's so vital to enjoy the lives we lead, and if we are not satisfied, than we must take active steps to change them. I am so happy to witness such radical transformations for a client that had such a demanding job as a corporate lawyer she was working around the clock.   How is she going to carve out time to have a relationship and a family of her own if she works 24/7? After much deliberation, she took a major risk and decided to leave her firm to take a different career path. This is scary stuff...but after many rounds, she landed her new dream job.

To top that off, she truly pushed past her comfort zone and practiced the art of 'asking for what you want.' She was about to lose her annual bonus for leaving her job prematurely. Despite all the legalities, she got up the nerve to ask for her bonus anyway. Guess, what, the powers that be said YES despite the contract rules that she wasn't eligible. Miracles happen when you speak up for yourself!  Now she is vacationing with friends before her new job starts, which will be less hours allowing for her to enjoy regular leisure time to experience life on her terms. She shared that is she proud of who she has become. I am proud of the bravery to make the necessary changes to live life on her terms.

The New Year is coming around and it's the perfect time to set new intentions. If you feel the time is now for you to take action; if you really want to accomplish some major life goals; if you know you need to shift your mindset about things or you will stay stagnant, than you may want to take me up on my complimentary Spark Session.  Miracles unfold.

Diana is forever my Idol. Sign up for a Spark Session if you are dying to make some BIG changes in the New Year. The Time is NOW.

Diana is forever my Idol. Sign up for a Spark Session if you are dying to make some BIG changes in the New Year. The Time is NOW.


#GivingTuesday has passed, but it's not too late to donate to my family's non-profit h2 Empower.  In rural Ethiopia girls have the job of going to get water for the family. Even when they go to the river, the water may not be clean. Globally, girls and women spend around 200 million hours every day gathering water. h2 Empower has put water in 4 schools and now we want to add a 5th. When this happens, the girls can stay in school and the entire community benefits.  Help us help these families have safe water supply. This is my mother's life's work. Would love for you to join us to transform lives in Ethiopia. Go to www.h2empower.com to support our water campaign.

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Insights in the Roots of Happiness

I recently attended a talk & book signing by Dr. Hallowell on “The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness.” As a parent, I'm always down to gain insights on raising well-adjusted, happy kids, so off I went. Ironically, the life lessons Dr. Hallowell highlighted, that have been backed by extensive scientific research, relate seamlessly to adult life. Don't we all have a desire to be happy right here and now? I wanted to share with you my commentary of Dr. Hallowell's5-Step Process for raising happy adults.  I agree with all of this and try my best to walk the walk....

  1. Connect – Feeling connected to others, whether it's family, friends or community is vital for life. Social disconnectedness is one of the top causes for depression and even death.  Reach out, land a hand, give a hug. Connect in person more often. Social media can only do so much.

  2. Play – Have fun. Free flow with your free time. Make this a priority.

  3. Practice – Find what you are good at and something you enjoy. Do it over and over again. Ever notice how great you feel when you accomplish something that is important to you?

  4. Mastery – The Great Motivator: The more you practice, the better you get. Over time you may be motivated to take on new challenges which leads to a positive, can-do attitude. Yeah!

  5. Recognition – When people we respect recognize our greatness, it feels good. When we realize what we do matters, there is a better chance of moral behavior and self-confidence shines bright.

Doesn't this all just make sense? It's so simple to read it, but takes effort and discipline to incorporate all this into our daily life.  What could you do today for a boost into your happiness quotient?  If you are ready to dive into your own personal empowerment with coaching support, schedule a complimentary Spark Session.

 

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GIRLS GOT IT BAD in the Old Boys Network

In The New York Times article “Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were,”by Susan Chira. I was moved by this quote that has summed up my beliefs in the struggle for true feminine power within most women. According to interviews with nearly two dozen female chief executives, would-be chief executives, headhunters, business school deans and human resources professionals, here are their insights.

“What they say: Women are often seen as dependable, less often as visionary. Women tend to be less comfortable with self-promotion — and more likely to be criticized when they do grab the spotlight. Men remain threatened by assertive women. Most women are not socialized to be unapologetically competitive. Some women get discouraged and drop out along the way. And many are disproportionately penalized for stumbles.” Wow! This is the wholehearted truth! I feel the need to break this down.

  • “Women are often seen as dependable, less often as visionary.” 'Often' is the key word here. None of this pertains to all women, but so many women truly are visionaries and they don't even feel it. I was once one of these women. I happen to marry a visionary artist. I've always seen him as a visionary. He sees things I don't see. He creates things out of thin air. It was so easy to see him or other creative icons and visionaries but never myself? What the hell was I envisioning? Over time, I cleared out the cobwebs and now I see clearly. This was a false belief and just wasn't true. I was living out the life I envisioned and others around me did think some of my actions and projects were visionary. I didn't think in that way. More confidence back in the day could've led to a different trajectory when I look back. But everything happens for a reason. Today there is more possibility and my visionary tendencies are evolving. This I think is possible for all women. It just takes commitment to self. By the way, aren't we sick of being so responsible and dependable? There is much more to the feminine than that.

  • “Women tend to be less comfortable with self-promotion — and more likely to be criticized when they do grab the spotlight.” I for sure was not socialized to be 'unapologetically competitive' or to be 'comfortable with self-promotion.' It has taken me years to post photos of myself via social media. It's just not how I was raised. I was verbally assaulted by peers my entire life for just being with comments like“oh, she thinks she's all that.” There are many women that hide their beauty & brains for fear of retaliation by jealous females or annoying machismo men. Trust me, I know. I see it all the time. Now that I'm raising a girl, I see the challenges from a mom's viewpoint and it is not pretty. I wrote an article about this for Beyond Mom, "Empowering Our Girls. Yes, You Are All That and Then Some."

  • “Men remain threatened by assertive women.” This is precisely the reason for those rumors that men should watch out from marrying professional women. I see this stereotype played out in the black community when an inordinate amount of professional black women remain single. They just can't win because when they date blue collar men, these men become intimidated by the women's success and then jet. I've seen this happen to friends for years! Look at what happened to Hilary Clinton! Our society of gender discrimination needs to shift dramatically.

Don't give up girls! Men, support the women in your life to keep it moving. I do believe it is possible for women to be strong, confident visionaries and still have a flourishing love & family life. Nothing is perfect, but with patience and diligence, life balance is possible. I support women get to this point...of loving themselves enough to where their confidence is shining and their reasons to hide vanish. We all deserve the injustice to fade into the sunsets. I know that's a bit dreamy, but keeping the conversations and intentions alive is one step in women rising to the top of whatever ladder they decide to climb. We just have to take one step at a time.

I'm so excited to introduce my new complimentary Deluxe Summer Spark Session. Offer ends August 15th, so jump on it.

Summer is the perfect time to regroup, relax and get your mind right.  In the complimentary 90-Minute Deluxe Summer Spark Session you will have the opportunity to discover the dream vision you have for the rest of 2017 and beyond.

  • Discover the obstacles in your way...it's usually not what you think it is.
  • Rediscover your authentic self all over again....we often forget how amazing we really are & this holds us back.
  • Get clarity on your exact action steps for more life balance and overall wellness.
  • Learn mindful contemplation practices for increased joy.

If you are intrigued by the idea of working with a Transformational Coach, reach out to schedule your session. 

I work with women, and a few special men, who are living with dissatisfaction with their love life and/or work life. The confusion & lack of life balance is leaving them sick and stuck in the status quo. Change is slow going and they are dying to move on, but don't know how. If you can relate, than it's time to book your Deluxe Summer Spark Session with me.  When years of therapy have not solved your reoccurring issues, then let's talk. Coaching is not about rehashing the past...it is about your future...and it's powerful! We ignite miracles! My Deluxe Summer Spark Session is an enlightening coaching consultation where you have some incredible breakthroughs and learn more about my exciting new coaching programs . Email me here to learn more.
ou can schedule a session directly here.

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Authenticity Equals Intimacy

I've been in conversations about the intricacies of relationships and the importance of being authentic. What do you do when you love someone and they think they know you so well, but they really don't because you aren't stating your truth much of the time?

Since I'm a Cancer water sign, it's in my nature to flow like water, especially in relationships. With that, I've definitely given in within my relationship when I may not have wanted to and I will admit it's vise versa too. What I've learned is compromise is one of the most valuable traits for a long-lasting relationship. But...there is a difference between compromise and hiding yourself, your inner desires to prevent fights or dispel fear of revealing your truth. What would happen if he really knew the truth about how you feel? Guess what? If he doesn't have a clue about your truth....the relationship is not based on solid ground and you can forget it long term.

photo credit: rawforbeauty

photo credit: rawforbeauty

Authenticity is everything. My husband & I have been together for 20 years and yes, though we drive each other nuts at times, love always supersedes the challenges. Yet no matter how much I want to hide my roller coaster emotions, I can not. He sees, feels and knows my truth...even if he's not too happy about it sometimes. Never underestimate the power of vulnerability.  Without it, there is no intimacy and without that, the relationships lacks authenticity and the result is dissatisfaction.

Scholar, author and public speaker Brené Brown states “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.” An open-heart combined with truth can cure many discrepancies. No matter how different you are, awareness and openness are vital. Trust me, opposites attract in my world.

photo credit: weheartit.com

photo credit: weheartit.com

I've talked to numerous clients who are in despair about their broken relationships and have shared that they lost themselves when they were with their partner. They lost their voice for expressing what it is they wanted. Watch out. Even giving in to the littlest things and not letting your opinions known can be detrimental to the relationship in the long run. With positive intention, it's possible to bounce back. Brené Brown explained “If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief. “ Who wants to deal with this? No one. But how can you support yourself?

Practice loving yourself first. Maybe then the second-guessing and caring too much about what other's think can subside.

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Here is one “love meditation” to engage in a little Self-Love, from “Teachings On Love” by Thich Nhat Hahn, my favorite Buddhist monk, poet, scholar and human rights activist.
 

May I be peaceful, happy and light in body, mind and spirit.

May she be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit.

May he be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit.

May they be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit.
 

May I be safe and free from injury.

May she be safe and free from injury.

May he be safe and free from injury.

May they be safe and free from injury.

 

May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.

May she be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.

May he be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.

May they be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.

photo credit: buddhabe.tumblr.com.

photo credit: buddhabe.tumblr.com.

As Thuy, Thich Nhat Hahn, states, “When we know how to maintain a calm, joyful mind, our words and actions will manifest peace and happiness. We will be our own true friend and a good friend to many others.” With this meditation you focus on sending love to yourself first. Next you set your intention on individuals and finally you send love to the world at large. See for yourself the powerful reactions to spreading love abound.

May your week ahead be filled with fun, love and productivity.

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Fly Like A Bird

Can't believe summer is finally here.   I wanted to share a little story that was a gentle reminder to slow down and rest.

The other day, as we were opening our front door, my husband found a little baby fledgling bird on the concrete sidewalk unable to fly.  On my busy Brooklyn avenue, this little bird's chance of surviving on concrete were low. Of course we couldn't let that happen, so my husband brought him into our backyard. He seemed so weak, he could barely move.  I actually picked him with a blanket and put him in our cat's carrier and we left him some bread and water. What to do with him?

After some research we realized it's illegal to keep a wild animal in the house...but we didn't want him to stay outside in the pouring rain last night, plus if our puppy and cats saw him, he would be doomed.  We learned that he probably lost his mother and was just still learning to fly.  He didn't seem sick, just struggling to use his wings.  Throughout the night I would peak in on him sitting nice and cozy on the blanket downstairs.

Early this morning, my husband rose to check on him and as soon as he opened the gate outside, the little birdie miraculously flew right out to a tree.  I had a feeling he just needed to rest and that's exactly what was necessary for him to build his strength up.  We were so happy.  We've collectively saved a lot of animals in our day, but I started my day with a feel-good moment.

What a reminder for the power of rest. What do you need to do to recharge? To relax your mind and body?  Often times when we are stressed out or depressed about this or that, the best remedy is taking a time out.  This is sometimes difficult for me since I'm a mompreneur on the go, but it is so vital.  I've actually gotten sick from pushing too hard, working too much and I've learned my lessons.

May you find time to chill and rest up so your wings can fly.

                    The fledgling we met looked just like this little birdie.


                    The fledgling we met looked just like this little birdie.


The cute little bird experience, reminded me of the inspirational gospel-style song by Mariah Carey "Fly Like a Bird."...here is an excerpt.

Somehow I know that
There's a place up above
With no more hurt and struggling
Free of all atrocities and suffering
Because I feel the unconditional love
From one who cares enough for me
To erase all my burdens
And let me be free to...

Fly like a bird
Take to the sky
I need you now, Lord
Carry me high
Don't let the world break me tonight
I need the strength of you by my side
Sometimes this life can be so cold
I pray you'll come and carry me home

Read more: Mariah Carey - Fly Like A Bird Lyrics | MetroLyrics


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I am a transformational coach, intuitive healer and fashion consultant. I believe in the power of connection, mindfulness and feminine empowerment. I love supporting women, and a few special men, to rediscover the beauty and wisdom within themselves and watch their lives blossom with joy. What I know for sure is when we connect with our authenticity, engage in radical self-care and learn to truly love ourselves, the sky is the limit. I've never been happier than when I'm surrounded by nature and connecting with like-minded souls. I dream of a peaceful existence filled with healing, wellness, togetherness, music and joy. I was born to send love and empower others to rediscover their own inner wisdom and live with passsion and purpose. What I want most in the world is to have multicultural equality, justice for all, world peace and a safe and healthy earth. I shine when I'm happy, am rested and feel good. I feel most alive when I'm dancing, swimming, surrounded by nature, connecting with amazing people, traveling and experiencing new things. If I had a super power it would be to remove racism from the world. I work best when I feel peaceful, healthy, positive and am in collaboration with like-minded souls. I can help you heal, shift from negative to positive mindsets, radiate your confidence and transform your personal style. I inspire and support you to achieve your intentions and dreams.

If you would like to learn more about what working with me looks like, email here to set up a complimentary Spark Session or Style Consultation.

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Creativity, Crystals & Clarity

I'm happy to introduce to you a woman who I deeply admire, Rashia Bell. We are partnering to host our upcoming wellness workshop Creativity, Crystals and Clarity. Rashia is a friend and past client who I have seen radically transform her life before my eyes.  She recently launched her interior design company infusing her expertise in crystal healing and the girl is on fire. Here is my interview with Rashia Bell and save the date for Sunday, May 21st in NYC to join us.

CREATIVES & CHANGEMAKERS INTERVIEW WITH RASHIA BELL

HOPE: How would you describe what you do?

RASHIA:   I am a Crystal Healer and Interior Designer.  As the co-founder of The Cristalline an Energetic Lifestyle company, we focus on showing people how to energetically balance their spaces and homes to promote well-being.

HOPE: What is crystal healing according to you?

RASHIA: Crystal Healing is a a beautiful way to balance the chakras of the body and to tap into the subconscious. For me it plays a role in many aspects of my life.

HOPE: How did your passion for crystals develop?

RASHIA: One of my first jobs was in jewelry and I really enjoyed being around the raw materials of the stones.  After leaving that industry and getting an Interior Design degree, jewelry then popped up in my career again when I was consulting for a designer that used untraditional materials. At that time I started to collect stones and to learn more about their energetic properties.

HOPE: Can you share at least one personal story of how the power of crystals showed up in your life?

RASHIA: When I was in a period of self reflection and was doing a lot of inner self work, I started to try to meditate. It was in my failed meditation efforts that I truly became connected to crystals.  I decided to try meditating with a crystal in my hand to allow my mind something else to focus on.  I immediately felt the energy coming out of the stone and traveling up my arm.  I then began exploring the energy of different stones and then later decided to start using them to change the energy within spaces.

HOPE: How do your clients benefit from the incredible crystal work you do?

RASHIA: For the individual, I really feel like crystal work opens you up to a whole new level of awareness.  It allows you to see out of a different pair of eyes, and it is through that sense that you are able to change and grow.  By having a tool to tap into one’s energy, one is able to hone in on their intuition.  As an extension to that in the home, incorporating crystals and balancing energy opens you up to having greater peace, balance and harmony within all areas of your life.

HOPE: What crystal healing experience can we expect at the "Creativity, Crystals & Clarity” event we are hosting together?

RASHIA: You can expect to Relax, lie down and be guided through a mediation and visualization.  All you have to do is let the crystals do the work!

                              Rashia Bell, Crystal Healer and Interior Designer at work.

                              Rashia Bell, Crystal Healer and Interior Designer at work.

SAVE THE DATE:  MAY 21st, 2017, 12:00pm - 3:00pm for our workshop...

CREATIVITY, CRYSTALS & CLARITY

A wellness workshop designed for you to have fun exploring the artist within, experience the power of crystal healing and get clarity around your next steps in life through empowering dialogue, transformational coaching and heart-centered connection.

Transformational Coach Hope McGrath and Crystal Healer/ Interior Design Rashia Bell hold space offering you a unique and enlightening afternoon of self-care and transformation.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT:

  • Tap into your creativity by having fun making art. No need to be an artist. It's all about free flow, playing with color and your intuition.

  • You receive your own special collection of crystals chosen by Rashia

  • The ultimate crystal healing experience. Ease your mind and heal your soul while crystals open up your chakras through powerful guided meditations.

  • Connect with a special circle of like-minded women as we share and explore together

  • Experience transformational coaching around your inner discoveries

  • Get insights on some actionable steps you can take to make positive changes in your life right now.

  • Walk away feeling refreshed, lighter, more joyful & calm with a new outlook on life. You naturally are inspired to make positive moves.

  • Enjoy lite bites by master chef at Meisterdish

FLOW OF THE DAY:

After our welcome and introductions, we invite everyone to playing around making art. Each guest will be asked to free flow and create a mini piece of art work. No agenda, just instinctively using your intuition to play

  • Each guest will be given art supplies to dive in and notice what comes up for them during the creative process.

  • After your drawings are created, you are then invited to unwind to a powerful crystal healing experience.

  • A special gift of crystals awaits you, especially intended to ignite your chakras. Rashia Bell will briefly give an intro to the power for crystals and the intention for your group crystal healing session.

  • Everyone is invited to relax and be present as Rashia presides with crystal healing and guided meditations.

  • Post crystal healing, you will be given a chance to be creative once again.

  • Hope McGrath facilitate our circle as we reflect on the different feelings and expressions that come up for you after the crystal healing.

  • All the guests will be invited to share with the circle in various ways.

  • Hope offers a Transformational Coaching Experience for guests to witness and we discuss actionable steps you can take moving forward with your newfound wisdom.

  • We wrap-up with a beautiful closing ritual.

  • Guests are invited to mingle at the end of the Creativity, Crystals and Clarity Workshop.

* BONUS Get $25 off the ticket price with this promo code before May 15th: CreativityCrystal2017

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6 Mindful Tips to Halt the Spin Cycle

You know those times when you may feel like your life is on a perpetual spin cycle. Time is flying. You just don't know where the time went. Running and running, but what are you actually doing? Busy, busy, but what are you actually thinking? Everything is moving super fast, you all of sudden feel there is no space for anything. No exercise, no downtime, no clear mind, no rest, no sense of peace. You feel the burn out coming, but are at a loss as to how to bring this spin cycle to complete halt. I've been there as I'm sure we all have. So what can we do to ease the craziness we are feeling? Slow down. Celebrate the small stuff. Live mindfully. It's so cliché, but it really does work! Trust me.

6 Mindful Tips to Halt the Spin Cycle:

Halt that Spin Cycle!!!  Photo: Doncabaleiro.tumblr.com

Halt that Spin Cycle!!!  Photo: Doncabaleiro.tumblr.com

1. Revamp Your Morning Routine:

What do you need to do for you to have a calm morning? Give yourself enough time to get up and out. Squeeze some rejuvenation into your morning...meditation, exercise, journaling, vibing to music, get a good night's sleep..whatever you desire. Trust me, I have been known as the queen of last minute in my house...waking up late and running around the house like a mad woman, breakfast, making lunch for the kiddie, mad dash to get us up and out. These mornings are no fun and make us all crazy and ruins a chill start to our day. Compare that to this morning when I was playing some classic Sade and preparing for our day with enough time. What a difference! The family was all smiles and no yelling! If you are kids free than all you have to do is be responsible for yourself...so what do you need to have more happy mornings than mad dash stressful mornings?

2. The power of Gratitude.

Everyday write down things you are grateful for. The key is you can write the same things every day, so you need to switch it up. Take your gratitudes to the next level by writing why you are grateful. “I am grateful for _____ because_____.” I do this all the time. I am a moody Cancer girl so practicing gratitude gets me in a positive mood every time.

3. Just Sit and Breathe.

Take a pause. Sit comfortable and just breathe in, and breathe out. Follow your breath. Slow down. Morning or night, what a difference sitting meditation can make in your day. If you don't have a meditation practice, just try sitting for 5-10 minutes. Make a commitment to yourself.

4. Walk with Awareness.

I was introduced to walking meditation from the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn. According to Hahn, “walking in mindfulness is one of the best ways to take care the body and mind.” Normally one would walk very slowly during the formal practice, but you can walk regularly and still receive the benefit. When you walk just imagine your feet connecting with the earth, being as one with nature while you walk. Try observing nature as you walk. Yes, even urban dwellers can scope a tree, a bird, flowers, the sky. ”If we can transform our walking into a place for meditation, our feet will take every step in full awareness. Our breathing will be in harmony with our steps, and our mind will be naturally at ease. Every step we take will cause a stream of calming energy to flow through us,” states the Zen Master Hahn. “Earth Mother can receive our negative thoughts and feelings and transform them into flowers.” I would rather have beautiful floral bouquets surrounding my mind than b.s, wouldn't you?

5. Eat slowly and enjoy your food.

Skip all the distractions while you eat. Yup, drop the phone, shut off the TV, close the book or your laptop, whatever you need to do. Enjoy your meal by testing out the practice of eating mediation.  For lunch avoid eating lunch while you work. Get up and do something different. Eating meditation is simply eating slowly, chewing your food to enjoy the taste and carving out time to experience delicious foods while clearing the mind. The New York Times did this feature a while ago on mindful eating at one of my favorite places, the Blue Cliff Monastery.

6. Create Powers Mantras and Recite Regularly

Don't we all need to psyche ourselves out of some negative thought or limiting belief from time to time? If something is holding you back and you really want to shift towards a positive mindset, start creating power mantras, (my name for affirmations). For example, when I feel overwhelmed with the abundance of never-ending to-do's and the perfectionist in me is about to start the downward spiral, I have a simple power mantra for myself that stops the self-doubt...”I am more than enough.” This practice has supported me enormously. I have a client that took her affirmations very seriously...every single day she wrote out her affirmation multiple times ( along with her gratitudes) and shared them with me. She had a singular desire at that point in her life after she had lost her first pregnancy, to have a healthy baby girl. Oh the roller coaster we were on, but her affirmations stood firm. Fast forward today she has her gorgeous healthy baby girl. It really was like witnessing a miracle for me. This works! You just have to get crystal clear on what you desire.

I understand that sometimes the hard part is just getting started and getting clear. This is when it's great to reach out for support, whether it's a friend, partner, or coach. I'd love to hear how things go for you if you try any of these tips.

 

 

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Take Aim with Precision....Chanelling the Hunteress

I was recently on a retreat, where it was a mix of energy healing rituals and business teachings....quite interesting and empowering.  A few archetypes of the Divine Feminine came into my consciousness, but the archetype that stays in my mind has been "The Hunteresss." Connected to Virgo, The Hunteress is a woman unto herself. She is not beholden to anyone. The Hunteress makes her own choices and lives her life fully. There is zero shame in her desires. She takes action to have what she wants. When it's time to hunt, she doesn't go into the woods to track her prey and second-guesses her aim. She is clear on her intention. As the ultimate archer, she sees her prey, gets her bow and arrow ready and with exact precision, aims and achieves her goal. Action is never a question and the best part is that she is undistracted by competition or the needs of others.The Hunteress is the epitome of the independent female spirit and she is a natural protector of other women...and she loves animals too.

When I first learned about the Hunteress, I did find her inspiring, but my first thought was, OMG that's my kid! My daughter not only is a Virgo, but she has a lot of these traits. No wonder we are butting heads as she ages. Can you imagine how challenging it can be to raise a Hunteress? There is something to say for everything!  I kinda wish I was a natural Hunteress, but this Cancer girl definitely had to bump up my game. (I used to love archery as a kid. Is this a wake-up call to go back to camp.?)  It would be so great not care what others think and to have complete precision with clarity and aim for goals. What's so great is that I have grown to embody this truth...that competition really doesn't need to effect any of us. We are all individuals, creative spirits and no one can ever be us, therefore is there really competition against you for doing you? So they say...there is more than enough money to go around. No need to feel the competition. We just have to keep on with the faith that with clarity, diligence, focus, patience and ease, we can attain our goals with peace. (I really wish I learned this concept during my years with my fashion business. I don't think I would've suffered as much with doubt and worry about landing this account or that or comparing myself to other entrepreneurs doing amazing work.) I feel happy that I have let those beliefs about competition go and what a relief! It is a serious path and there will be roller coaster rides in the process, but don't give up.

                       Get inspired to take action by the gorgeous Hunteress

                       Get inspired to take action by the gorgeous Hunteress

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I am a transformational coach, intuitive healer and fashion consultant. I believe in the power of connection, mindfulness and feminine empowerment. I love supporting women, and a few special men, to rediscover the beauty and wisdom within themselves and watch their lives blossom with joy. What I know for sure is when we connect with our authenticity, engage in radical self-care and learn to truly love ourselves, the sky is the limit. I've never been happier than when I'm surrounded by nature and connecting with like-minded souls. I dream of a peaceful existence filled with healing, wellness, togetherness, music and joy. I was born to send love and empower others to rediscover their own inner wisdom and live with passsion and purpose. What I want most in the world is to have multicultural equality, justice for all, world peace and a safe and healthy earth. I shine when I'm happy, am rested and feel good. I feel most alive when I'm dancing, swimming, surrounded by nature, connecting with amazing people, traveling and experiencing new things. If I had a super power it would be to remove racism from the world. I work best when I feel peaceful, healthy, positive and am in collaboration with like-minded souls. I can help you heal, shift from negative to positive mindsets, radiate your confidence and transform your personal style. I inspire and support you to achieve your intentions and dreams.

If you would like to learn more about what working with me looks like, email info@hopemcgrath.com to set up a complimentary Spark Session or Style Consultation.

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The Art of Doing Nothing

Of the many women I have talked to over the last few weeks, I have noticed an reoccurring cry for help...from my clients, friends and the Mom's Empowerment Circle I host. So many women are running around like crazy without giving themselves a moment to think, just to be, just to breathe. Men go through this too! Whether us women are over-achievers with or without families or relationships, it all doesn't matter. Many of us have this reoccurring feeling that father time is not on our side. I used to feel like this 24/7 until I woke up and focused on shifting my outlook. When we can't think straight, have a difficult time getting clear on what we want, feel our creativity is blocked and are aware we are not enjoying the present moment, that is when we know something has to shift. But what? My easy answer is meditation. It's the best way to calm your mind, bring more peace into your life and allow you to discover your inner wisdom. Problem is a lot of people have an aversion to “sitting meditation.”  Just the thought of it brings resistance.  If this is you, than I have some other fun tips towards clearing your mind in order to listen to yourself and get answers to your most pressing personal questions or tap into your depths of creativity.

The Art of Doing Nothing:

Dream existence. Photo credit: archilovers.com

Dream existence. Photo credit: archilovers.com

Doing nothing doesn't always mean staring into space, but it can be engaging in solo activities that allow you to be present in the moment and don't require you to think too much. Swimming comes to mind for me because that action allows me to clear my mind. I have all sorts of insights when I get out of the pool. Walking the dog, mopping the floor, whatever...all these mindless activities can offer insights if you are open.

  1. Give yourself the gift of time....to do NOTHING. Whatever 'nothing 'means to you. It could be lounging, walking, movement of some sort, solitude away from family or friends, a solo day trip away from the house to do “nothing”, whatever. “Nothing” means that you are “being” without much “thinking or doing.”(No technology zone for doing nothing.) Make it a point.

  2. Stare at the ceiling. If you don't want to formally meditate, try what my friend does. She just tells everyone she needs a moment and lays down to stare at the ceiling for a few minutes. I thought that was a great idea as an alternative to formal meditation. Just don't fall asleep.

  3. Create something that offers you a little escape and doesn't take much thought. Some people love knitting, painting, drawing for this reason. I embroider and that's an activity that allows me to release my thoughts. Even though there is action taking place, I consider it under the art of doing nothing because I'm not running around, planning or engaging with others. What can you create that can offer you a window into your vast intuitive imagination?

    4. Go to nature and just be. Enough said. Beach lover? Tree hugger? Go to where you feel inspired and moved. Just go and sit or walk. There is something to be said for the simple life. I will never forget my high school BF reflecting on life and sharing that her favorite job was the high school job she had at our local private beach in Long Island. Minimal responsibilities and getting paid to hang at the beach all day was ideal.  I remember many lazy summer days riding my bike down long windy roads, past beautiful homes near the beach to just hang with her. Oh the carefree days of youth! We can still carve out time for carefree days if we make the effort.

If you are feeling stuck and desire support to gain clarity on your next steps, you can learn more about my Premium Private Coaching Programs, email here to schedule a complimentary Spark Session. Either way, have fun engaging in the Art of Doing Nothing.

 

A favorite destination in Bucks County, PA...unwind, chill and do a little bit of nothing

A favorite destination in Bucks County, PA...unwind, chill and do a little bit of nothing


Fun news! I was interviewed by Alex Jamieson, a celebrated health & life coach, author, friend and client, for her podcast Her Rules Radio. For her show "Why I finally sold my Oscar dress" we have a fun, insightful, conversation about the power of personal style, a bit of history about how I fell in love with fashion and how I helped her with a major life cleanse through my Style Rejuvenation program.  It all began in her closet and culminated with an open mind and refreshed soul plus a super fresh collection of fabulous clothing for a revamped, sexy wardrobe to reflect her new beginning. After attending the Oscars with her then husband Morgan Spurlock for their Oscar-nominated documentary "Super Size Me", Alex kept this gorgeous beaded gown under her bed for years. Check out the show to hear my reaction.

I met Alex one morning after school drop off in Brooklyn (our kids are in class together) and I was proud of this chic look Alex put together on her own after our Style Rejuvenation program experience. Asymmetrical jacket by All Saints, leather tote by Rebecca Minkoff, paired with sleek combat boots, red lips. All togethera fabulous revamp of a casual jean look. Here I am playing with some wild sunglasses @ 29 Rooms.

I met Alex one morning after school drop off in Brooklyn (our kids are in class together) and I was proud of this chic look Alex put together on her own after our Style Rejuvenation program experience. Asymmetrical jacket by All Saints, leather tote by Rebecca Minkoff, paired with sleek combat boots, red lips. All togethera fabulous revamp of a casual jean look. Here I am playing with some wild sunglasses @ 29 Rooms.

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Comparison Kills Joy

I've been practicing more patience with myself lately and wanted to touch on this topic.  Sometimes I wish I wasn't so ambitious. This way maybe I would be satisfied with less, be cool when things don't go as planned. But then I remember the power of patience.

On social media my 12 year old niece commented "Jelly"  to one of my daughter's private posts. Come to find out "Jelly" is the new, fun way of describing "jealousy." Oh no, now it's just so easy and open to be jealous of everyone doing anything cool that you are not doing! Us adults already have a hard time not comparing ourselves to others. As we looked through one of my fabulous friends Instagram feed, my daughter couldn't help vocalizing how lucky she felt they were and wishing she had part of that life that she saw in pictures.  Despite our blessings, the seeds of lack are ever-present. How can we escape & shift this in our modern society? It takes work. Adults feel this way all the time. Social media & media in general can cause depression if you aren't careful. I am consciously releasing envy immediately when it arises and embracing authentic happiness for others, but this took deep awareness to practice. It really does work in helping you feel better and staying on track when you know there is no need for competition, there is more than enough money to go around and in due time you will rise up to where you desire to be if you set intentions and take right actions.

What gives me solace is that we all have divine timing. We must find patience within and trust that everything happens for a reason. We are meant to be taught certain lessons in life and
there is power in living in the present moment and allowing ourselves to take our time to learn and evolve and not rush everything. I want it all now too, but it's just not happening at once.  I never did believe that notion that us woman could have it all...true love, babies, killer career, stellar health, happy & balanced family life, exciting social life, deep self-exploration all at the same time. A few things at a time, but not everything at once. Many of us strive for it all, only to feel defeated. It's time to let these false beliefs go and be happy with what is going on now. It's hard sometimes, I know. I always say "right now are the good ol' days." I experience so much more peace trusting my pace, and that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. Boy is it freeing when we stop pressuring ourselves, stop beating ourselves up when we experience perceived failures and let go of our suffering. We can all do this, we just need the awareness.

This week I invite you to just notice when comparison is bringing you down and just stop dead in your tracks and drop the thought. Try meditating or journaling on embodying your divine timing in this life. Do share with me as I would love to hear from you.

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Self-Care Survival Tips for Activists and beyond

We are living in a time of radical change. Instead of 'Making America Great Again' I feel that we are doing the exact opposite. As protests and opposition come at what seems to be every turn, there are still many that agree with the negative rhetoric and justify all the destructible actions being put forth. The public is just not backing down and the potential for escalating conflict is looking all the more real. Listening to people on the left and the right talk about politics, why do I continue to be amazed at how two people can look at the exact same thing from two polar opposite viewpoints? I understand this is what makes the world go around, but damn! The assault against women's rights, immigrants, sacred Native American land, the environment and all the overt racism is taking our state of the union into scary territory.

At times I experience conflicting emotions of fear, hope, anger, shock, faith, disappointment, powerlessness, pride, overwhelm, sadness and everything in between. My entire existence is rooted in blending cultures and the mixing of races.  I was raised with an open-mindedness that we can love what is different from us, a hope for a more peaceful future (hence my name), an inner knowing that we are stronger as a whole.

Aside from being proactive and fighting the good fight for our rights...what else can we do? If we don't take care of ourselves first and foremost, how can we help others? How can we practice compassionate understanding of those with opposing views? We are all being put to the test.

                                                        Bed-Stuy Pueblo @ the Women's March NYC 2017

                                                        Bed-Stuy Pueblo @ the Women's March NYC 2017

Self-Care Survival Tips for Activists and beyond...

inacre Reservoir, Peak District, England (by William6201)Photo credit: TravelingColors

inacre Reservoir, Peak District, England (by William6201)Photo credit: TravelingColors

  1. Connect with loved ones. Reach out to a long lost friend, call your family, reconnect to nurture your close relationships. I just finally caught up with an old friend I haven't spoken to in a year and it brought us such joy to touch base and get updates.

  2. Engage in community. We all benefit from like-minded souls around us doing interesting things. Stay connected, take action together, play, dance, hang, whatever...just build community. I feel so grateful that I have nurtured an incredible neighborhood community of friends. A few of us activist-minded moms get together to discuss the current state of affairs and decided to roll together to the Women's March in NYC....the morning of the march we noticed that we had 46 protestors join our posse called the “Bed Stuy Pueblo” and off we went. It was incredible to experience and it was another reminder for me to have gratitude for the years I have dedicated to nurturing relationships in my community that has deeply enriched life for myself and my family.

  3. Carve out time for fun. Don't be too serious. Yes we all have a thousand things to do, but be conscious of the need for fun and laughter. It is proven that laughter has major long-term health benefits.

  4. Enjoy nature. Sometimes just noticing the beauty of nature has a calming effect over us. Carve out time for relaxing within nature or do what I do...practice walking meditation while observing nature. Of course, surrounding ourselves with nature has countless wellness benefits as well.

  5. Tap into your spirituality. Whatever higher being you connect to, keep the faith close to your heart and top of mind. I'm what I call a recovering Catholic that now is a practicing Buddhist. I was thinking I'm all spiritual now until on two different occasions, my spiritual advisors told me I was disconnected to God and need to reconnect. I was shocked in one moment and then I realized it was true. I was so into being mindful that I wasn't talking to “God” for years! My reawakening came when I chose to reconnect.

  6. Connect to the joy in our lives. This is what I see can support us through these challenging times. At the book signing of “Wake Up to the Joy of You” by Agapi Stassinopoulos (Arianna Huffington's sister), aside from her being a dynamic speaker, one thing she asked the audience to do is to bring joy into our daily consciousness and share that joy with a “joy buddy.” I thought that was a great idea. Sharing your joy brings us a deeper sense of joy and gratitude. Try being conscious of your daily joys and either journal or find your own joy buddy to share with.

 Let's indulge in ourselves to keep our sanity, ignite positive change and keep moving forward.  Need some clarity and support achieving your goals and dreams? I can help.  Join me for my Radiant Deluxx - VIP Coaching Intensive...book your session now to receive my special deal here.

                                           With Agapi and her book signing for Wake Up to the Joy of You.

                                           With Agapi and her book signing for Wake Up to the Joy of You.

                                               Let Love Rule....Artist Space @ 29 Rooms by Refinery 29

                                               Let Love Rule....Artist Space @ 29 Rooms by Refinery 29

 

 

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a Fearless 2017 awaits...3 Steps Towards clarity to Start the New Year Off Right

This holiday season let us celebrate the abundance of things that we can be grateful for in our lives. No matter what is stressing us out, we can choose happiness. We can choose to stop and look around to assess how blessed we are. We have the power to chose how we think and view the world. Mastering our mindset can be one of the hardest we embark, but I do see the value of shifting towards optimism.

So many people in America, after an insane election season, are happy to put 2016 behind us, only to look ahead with a range of emotions from excitement to begin anew to anger and fear. What changes are before us and what does that mean for ourselves, our families, our communities, our lives?

Photo credit: Ben Kimball

Photo credit: Ben Kimball

I find myself, once again straddling two worlds of race and unique perspectives, grateful to live a multi-cultural life in Brooklyn and to witness a wide array of world views. This year, at our annual holiday cookie swap party, the female powerhouses couldn't be from more different walks of life and there we are debating over politics, education, race and more. (Yes, some of us mama's pride ourselves on baking the best, most ornate holiday cookies and then swap them over wine and conversation, while the kiddies run around.)  This meeting of the minds is what is necessary for positive change...community and real conversation. I have been finding myself in a lot of these circles lately. If we want to be the change and to shift our personal lives for the better, getting clarity on what we want and how we plan to take action is the first step. Being honest with ourselves and others is always the first step.

At the annual “Call to Healing” event hosted by Love Circle Sangha, a Buddhist meditation community of mine, the Dharma talk by Lama Rod Owens really reinforced for me how much fear we are all living with and how to bear witness and then transform that fear. The first step is to actually call it out. While listening, it hit me that many of my past actions in daily life are based on unrealistic fear! Much of the same with my coaching clients and friends. Do this or something negative may happen. Do that to avoid feeling this. It's insanity. So many people have full lives, yet often fake the funk, just to avoid fear of countless things we need not be fearful of.

I happen to be a risk-taker, which has many pros and cons, and sometimes I wish I wasn't. Yet, the risk-takers and the risk-averse often grapple with fear of change or self-doubt. My job as a transformational coach is to witness and then support in releasing the fear and shedding light to the inner brilliance just waiting to blind everyone in it's wake.  Yet I must walk the walk and talk the talk. I have to bust through my own blocks in order to do my best work. Every day, I'm on the path. One teaching I heard and implement is to fill this subconscious worrying with a fantastic simple phrase....”Assume the best.”  Now, my mother informed me that "worrying" was a trait passed down from generations in my family. Great! Releasing worry has often been a challenge, especially as a recovering perfectionist. I don't think I ever simply "assumed the best."  As soon as see that slippery slope, I simply stop the negative brain space and state,  “Assume the best.” It totally helps shift the mood on that train of thought. But the trick is not just thinking it...but actually FEELING it. Getting in touch with our bodies and how we are feeling is the key towards manifesting our intentions and feeling better about our decisions and lives.

I'm choosing to feel positive about 2017. There is a lot of work to do. I'm ready.

Three Steps towards Clarity to Start the New Year Off Right....

  1. Take some time to review the past year. Reminisce by looking through pictures of 2016, your calendar, journal, whatever. Take it month by month. You'll notice the ups and downs. Gentle reminder: Celebrate the small stuff.  Face facts about how you could improve or make adjustments after lessons learned.

  2. Set an intention for 2017. One word. - Chose this one word wisely. Then keep it top of mind throughout the year. Write it. Say it aloud. Live it. This practice was quite inspirational for me. For 2016, my intention was “Effective.” Throughout the year I can't tell you how many times a different client described my work with them as being “Effective.” I was actually shocked, when I would hear someone use that exact word to describe their experience with me. But a second later I would realize that there was no need to be surprised at all. My intention all year was to be “effective,” so be it.

  3.  Take action on our intention. Jot down three action steps you can take if you are to live out your intention for 2017? Once you are clear on an action. Set a date and time to actually set it in motion. Use imagery to sink in your vision. This is the hard work, but trust that you will happy. Like my spiritual advisor broke it down so simply for me....two key questions...What do I want? How am I going to get it?

Here's to stepping into a fearless 2017!

A beautiful dive into the New Year.  Photo credit: stylishgypsy.tumblr

A beautiful dive into the New Year.  Photo credit: stylishgypsy.tumblr

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My New Spiritual Teacher...a puppy

Spike the Pomeranian Puppy @ 4 months old.

Spike the Pomeranian Puppy @ 4 months old.

I feel such gratitude for my spiritual practice rooted in mindfulness. If not for this support, I may have lost my mind a long time ago. Modern living can be quite stressful which is why it's so vital to take care of our health, our happiness quotient, our overall wellness. All it takes it subtle shifts in mindset, self-love with a focus on self-care and our world can dramatically change. This is not an easy feat. I work with creatives and changemakers to transform perspectives in life & get out of the funk, which then open up doors and opens up hearts leading to dramatic positive change in love and work.  Personally, I just had a puppy inspire a radical mindset shift. I would never imagine that mindfulness would help me connect to my new puppy.

It all happened when one morning, nearing our daughter's 10th Birthday, my husband said...”I think it's time we get a puppy for Ruby.” I agreed. I can't believe those words came out of my mouth. I have been saying NO to the begging for over four years. It didn't make sense for a thousand reasons. Now, I am not a dog person. Never was. All you dog lovers can debate me forever, but I'm just one of those cat ladies. If I wasn't married with a child, I could potentially be one of those ladies with too many cats.

Then came a little Pomeranian puppy named Spike. He's just so little, fluffy and cute that they decided to give him a hard rock name. :) My automatic NO was rooted in the fact that I don't have the patience, interest or time to walk a dog, to revolve our busy lives around a dog, to play with a puppy all the time. But somehow, in the blink of an eye, it just happened. Her 10th birthday came around and here Spike is in our lives. Life is so full for us that taking the time to train the dog and walk the dog I found to be fun for a second and then completely annoying and frustrating. I could be doing lots of other productive things with my time, so I thought. But then something dawned on me. I stopped resisting. I decided to look at dog walking and all things dog related differently.

Spike loves to go hiking upstate. Perfect place for walking meditation with Puppy. :)  

Spike loves to go hiking upstate. Perfect place for walking meditation with Puppy. :)

 

Since Spike is only 6 months & tiny, he is super slow walking down the street. He will sit for a while, he will sniff one spot forever, and I was losing my patience initially until I realized that this little puppy is teaching me patience all over again! I had a crash course in patience after becoming a mother, but now I have a 10 year old, so all the patience you need with babies is a distant memory. This puppy is now offering me precious opportunities to practice mindfulness daily. To engage in walking meditation, to enjoy the nature around me, time to pray, set intentions and reflect...all this while walking a super slow puppy. He has taught me patience. I can't believe it! I now don't mind the walk around the block or just playing with him in the backyard. I look at it as my own time out. It's all in your mindset. Thanks to Spike I am forced to practice what I preach on a new level.

I've talked about walking meditation in the past but just wanted to remind you of this practice that can offer you a pep in your step, some joy and gratitude for your day. Normally walking meditation at Buddhist monasteries is very slow...with each step aligning with your breath. In everyday life we can still walk at a normal pace, but be aware of our feet touching the earth and be conscious of the nature around us. I practice walking meditation everywhere....yes, everywhere throughout the concrete jungle. My favorite teacher, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn offers gatha's or mini poems to support our walking...such as “I am here. I am now.” “I have arrived. I am home.” What this means is that it's all about coming home to ourselves, being conscious of where we are. Being at peace with ourselves. Extending gratitude for where we are in the moment. Test it out today.

Spike loves the pumpkin patch.  He's very chill and has taken over our lives...but he's cute!

Spike loves the pumpkin patch.  He's very chill and has taken over our lives...but he's cute!

Where in your life is your patience being tested? One of my clients has a difficult time dealing with a colleague that drives her nuts by not taking responsibility for his projects, rolling projects onto her at the last minute, taking lazy short cuts and so on.  Rather than spew out things she shouldn't say off the cuff or suffer with annoyance, she has been incorporating the practice of STOP, DROP and BREATHE and it's been helping her take a moment to chill, release the negative feelings that come up and breathe it out. She reports this has been a positive coping mechanism. She can then take a moment to think of how to effective communicate to achieve her desired results. I'm proud to report the practice is working.

I'd love to hear how you practice patience and move through the resistance? Do share with me.

Spike ate and destroyed my Aura photograph taken by Radiant Human in a silver planetary- looking dome at Refinery 29's 29 Rooms event. Now matter how cute Spike is, I'm still fuming over this. The photograph is supposed to expose our aura, which I think it pretty cool. Each color represents our various ways of being. My colors rang true for who I am, same for my daughter. Go check it www.radianthuman.com.

Spike ate and destroyed my Aura photograph taken by Radiant Human in a silver planetary- looking dome at Refinery 29's 29 Rooms event. Now matter how cute Spike is, I'm still fuming over this. The photograph is supposed to expose our aura, which I think it pretty cool. Each color represents our various ways of being. My colors rang true for who I am, same for my daughter. Go check it www.radianthuman.com.

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Perseverance is Power. Inspiration to Keep Keeping On...

The concept of perseverance has been top of mind lately. Though it may not be PC to talk politics, I was deeply moved by President Obama's speech and quite a few other speeches (Michelle Obama and the Khan family) at the Democratic National Convention. Even though we may not agree with all Obama's policies or actions, he is a dynamic speaker, brilliant mind and the kind of leader I admire. When he mentioned that “Hilary doesn't quit,” that really stood out to me. Whether you are with Hilary or not, I have to say, that is true. (Michelle agrees too.) Perseverance beyond all odds is what inevitably leads to achievement, because no matter how long it takes, if you are diligent and keep your eye on the prize, success will come in some form or another.        
Perseverance is “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.“ I'd like to honor perseverance within all of us and offer a gentle reminder to keep at our dreams, no matter what. There are countless stories could offer on the power of steadfast determination despite all odds.

Bi-Coastal Dreaming.... Photo Credits: Kober Christian & Travel Noire

Bi-Coastal Dreaming.... Photo Credits: Kober Christian & Travel Noire

One of my inspiring clients dreamed of living a bi-coastal life...but there were lots of obstacles in the way. To have one home on the east coast and another on the west coast, is no easy feat for a single, independent woman without a trust fund. To be a high-achieving women in the work force, one must have a long list of positive values...confidence, strength, intelligence, being personable, decisiveness, creativity and so much more. First things first, was her desire for positive change and living with more authenticity and joy. With the support of our coaching work together, renewed confidence led to more respect at work and increased abundance. There was an inner-knowing that she could accomplish this dream. Compared to LA, securing an apt in NYC is rather difficult and many roadblocks pushed her to temporarily give her apartment search a break. But she still had her goal in mind and didn't give up. Months later she tried again and was so excited when she signed the NYC lease and officially achieved her goal of bi-coastal living. I was so thrilled, as it brings me so much joy when I see dreams becoming fulfilled.

Over the years, I have witnessed my clients take leaps of faith and continue on, despite defeat and rejection, to achieve their goals. From being unemployed for months and persistently looking for work in creative ways and finally landing an ideal job, to one entrepreneur being miserable with her current undesirable clients and then standing her power to state her boundaries, attract new clients she loved and slowly, gently releasing the clients that no longer served her. Her personal life blossomed from sheer determination towards positive transformation. She was persistent in the practice of opening her heart, pushing the envelope of vulnerability and existing outside of the comfort zone. She is now glowing in an exciting new career path, jet setting and inspiring others with her effortless grace, style and compassion.

I'm always inspired by my visionary husband. When he has a clear picture of what he wants to create, it's like tunnel vision and he will do whatever it takes and be as patient as necessary, until his project has come to fruition. I saw this with our home, which was a total fixer upper. When we first looked at the house, I was like “hell no” and tried to get out of there as fast as possible. But he had a vision that I could not see. I let him roll with his vision and he designed the building to be a work of art for the neighborhood, eventually we opened a business there for many to enjoy. Everything about that process was difficult and without perseverance & patience, our situation would've been a lot worse...and it was already crazy, enough so that I get threats he'll write a screen play about our lives at that time. It won't be pretty. Me living in a dusty fixer upper in Bed Stuy with neighbors that thought the street was their daily night club, crime abound, a precious newborn & zero sleep? I was in rare form!

Our backyard used to look like a garbage dump. I am not kidding when I say one day a neighbor decided to literally throw her baby's diaper out of her back window into my backyard instead of her own garbage can! As you can imagine, when I saw the diaper flying, I nearly lost it!  Without perseverance and vision, this would've never existed! So many people came to enjoy our space in the day.

Our backyard used to look like a garbage dump. I am not kidding when I say one day a neighbor decided to literally throw her baby's diaper out of her back window into my backyard instead of her own garbage can! As you can imagine, when I saw the diaper flying, I nearly lost it!  Without perseverance and vision, this would've never existed! So many people came to enjoy our space in the day.

During New York Fashion Week last season, I met a stylist that told me how for the last 20 years he always kept pursuing his dream of becoming a successful stylist. He never said no to test photo shoots to build up the beautiful photography in his portfolio, which over time, led to him working with the most famous faces in the world and a spot on America's Next Top Model with Tyra Banks. He was so confident & had such clarity on how he achieved success. I will never forget it. Perseverance was the answer to his dreams and he was glowing.

A story from one of my favorite podcasts “The Accidental Creative” with Todd Henry , my ultimate productivity guru, really resonated with me. One day the guest, who is a film and television producer, was having dinner with accomplished friends, including Academy-nominated film makers. He stated, “The sum of the whole evening was...You definitely need a base line of talent..but beyond that it's all about perseverance. All around the table the conclusion was...If you put 2 actors in a room, 2 directors in a room, 2 writers in a room, 2 producers in a room, one of them has A Level Talent and B Level perseverance and the other has B Level talent and A Level perseverance. Our money is on the B talent and A perseverance guy every time. And that's just a cheesy cliché, that's actually based on real life...what these people have found in his careers.”

Slow and steady wins the race. Despite our modern society of instant gratification and wanting everything yesterday, it's so important to enjoy the journey and just don't give up. I was given this advice when I was informed by an intuitive energy healer I saw who shared--- I have been in a race with myself. It really did hit home because it was true. I see all the amazing work everyone is doing out there and I'd love to be at their pace, but it's not my journey right now. Where I am, is where I'm supposed to be. This newfound wake-up call has given me such a wonderful peace of mind. Acceptance allows me to enjoy the journey and not constantly rush towards the end goal.

How do you persevere in your life? What goals are you looking to achieve and what will it take to get there? One step and time, just don't give up. Living a life of dreams deferred is no fun. Just do it. Please share what you are up to.


Here are some highlights from the Spark Collective Workshop @ Thompson Square Studios. We had such a fantastic group of women join us for a very special evening. I am grateful.

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Introducing...THE SPARK COLLECTIVE...an evening of personal empowerment

For all you NYC dwellers who love feeling great, taking some reflective me-time and desire to be reinvigorated by fresh perspectives on life, come join me to experience Transformational Coaching at my next wellness and personal empowerment workshop, The Spark Collective.

The Spark Collective by Hope McGrath

Thompson Square Studios and Tigist Helen Schmidt proudly present the The Spark Collective by Hope McGrath on Tuesday, June 21st 7- 10:00pm. Transformational Coach Hope McGrath offers an evening of personal empowerment and fun with an enlightening workshop on rediscovering your radiance. 

What to expect:

  • Indulge in visualizations and gain clarity about your inner desires and big dreams
  • Learn mindfulness practices to offer stress relief, a sense of calm and joy in the present moment
  • Experience insights in your authentic self to begin to radiate your power in fresh new ways
  • Potential to win a complimentary coaching demo with Hope
  • Subtle mindsets shifts just may arise
  • Connect with like-minded souls who place a priority in living with more joy and peace of mind.
  •  A mini dance class with the talented dancer and Zumba instructor extraordinaire Bethina Sayegh Flores.
  • Tasty lite bites and delicious wines provided by Ruffino Wines

The Spark Collective is for those who:

  • Desire to learn new tools to relieve stress from work and life
  • Enjoy experiencing new personal development modalities to feel their best
  • Open to new tips for mindful living
  • Value the importance of self-care & wellness
  • Desire clarity on life's purpose and next steps and would welcome some insights
  • Interested in learning more about the power of transformational coaching
  • Desire to blossom at work and live with true love therefore fresh perspectives are welcome
  • Are ready to let their light shine bright and want to open up space for their radiance
  • Love to meet new amazing people and making real connections
  • Could use some radical transformations in personal life with love + work

TUESDAY, JUNE 21ST, 2016

7 PM - 9:30 PM

THOMPSON SQUARE STUDIOS
54 THOMPSON STREET, FL3, NYC

RSVP is a must, limited space available.

*****Please be on time.


At the Spark Collective we will be treated to a mini-dance class by dance teacher extraordinaire Bethina Sayegh Flores. Hailing from South America, Bethina is trained in Jazz, Afro-Caribbean, Flamenco, Hip-Hop, and belly dancing. Currently, she's having a great time teaching Zumba. "I love to teach Zumba because I can both dance and teach different rhythms.  It makes me happy and I love to spread the joy and love I feel every time I teach dance." Trust me, her energy is electric. The dancing is optional, so no pressure, but I will inspire you let go and have fun.

At the Spark Collective we will be treated to a mini-dance class by dance teacher extraordinaire Bethina Sayegh Flores. Hailing from South America, Bethina is trained in Jazz, Afro-Caribbean, Flamenco, Hip-Hop, and belly dancing. Currently, she's having a great time teaching Zumba. "I love to teach Zumba because I can both dance and teach different rhythms.  It makes me happy and I love to spread the joy and love I feel every time I teach dance." Trust me, her energy is electric. The dancing is optional, so no pressure, but I will inspire you let go and have fun.


The Spark Collective came about after a conversation with my client and friend Tigist Helen Schmidt about how to share the incredible transformative coaching techniques and intuitive healing I use in an in-person group setting....with a lux vibe that I love of course.

When I asked Tigist, why she wanted to host the Spark Collective and spread the word about the effective life-changing work I do, she shared some thoughts with me...

Hope's Q: What were the top three factors that led you to hire me as your coach?

Tigist's A: I was at my bottom, even though I was supposedly doing what I wanted. I knew that I couldn't do it by myself anymore and I also realized that I didn't have to. The first time I met you, I knew you had an extraordinary gift and therefore referred to you to my best friend. I witnessed closely how my friend's life transformed. So, I knew I had to be ready.

Hope's Q: What are the 4 words which describe what it's like to work with me?

Tigist's A: Effective. Powerful. Intuitive. Transformational.

Hope's Q: What was unique or unexpected about working with me?

Tigist's A: Every session is different and I started to learn to enjoy the process. I am amazed every time, how you can tap into what I need from moment to moment.

Hope's Q: What has surprised you about yourself?  What is different about you and your life? What did you learn?

Tigist's A: What hasn't surprised me? And there is still so much more to uncover. I didn't know how deep a coaching session can be. Overall, I feel much more connected to myself, my desires, my loved ones. I am also a lot more grateful.  I have learned so much along the way in six months, but one thing I know for sure...anything is possible.

Hope's Q: How do you normally feel after a coaching session with me?

Tigist's A: I always have more insights and therefore feel empowered every time.

Hope's Q: What is a metaphor or image that describes our work together?

Tigist's A: Coaching is like working hand in hand with an angel on your innermost dreams.

I was so moved by the last quote by Tigist. This is precisely the reason why I do what I do....to support creatives and changemakers in achieving their life's passions....whether it be finding true love and shifting our mindset to do so, blossoming at work with confidence, healing and rediscovering your light to shine bright, radiating your authenticity and setting actionable steps towards your goals. We are always about moving forward into the future of our best lives. I have all these intentions for myself and I love partnering with special souls to join me on the path.

Let me say that I am living proof of the possibilities of transformation in baby steps. You may be surprised to hear this, but I often felt like I dimmed my light in the past.  Launching my own website and posting nice photos of myself online is a huge move for me...had to push past all sorts of limiting beliefs. (I will be touching on sorts of these topics in the future.) I'm not at ease in the modern selfie world of overexposure, so it's been difficult for me to get with the program.  Not only that, I spent much of my life with a fear of public speaking, so offering talks at my events and others is actually me pushing past my fear. Despite the fact that I have had some successful public speaking experiences in the past...I'm still scared to do it. Can't wait until the fear subsides but I know I just have to keep doing it.  I really am all about pushing through fear nowadays, wasn't always the case.  I love supporting my clients in this realm. I also try to teach my daughter to 'dare greatly,' as Brene Brown would say, when life offers her the opportunity to quit or push forward and not give up.

The Spark Collection is hosted by my fabulous client and friend Tigist Helen Schmidt, Actor, Activist and Founder of Selam Productions and GOURSHA.

The Spark Collection is hosted by my fabulous client and friend Tigist Helen Schmidt, Actor, Activist and Founder of Selam Productions and GOURSHA.


The Spark Collective will be taking place at the new chic private membership club Thompson Square Studios, a luxurious space for work and enjoyment.

So thrilled to introduce our wine sponsor Ruffino Wines who will be offering delectable select wines at The Spark Collective.

So thrilled to introduce our wine sponsor Ruffino Wines who will be offering delectable select wines at The Spark Collective.

Please spread the love to your friends who you believe may be interested in The Spark Collective.

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What Do You Desire?

What do you desire to create? How do you desire to live? Who do you desire to surround yourself with? How do you desire to feel?  I recently came across this notion of desire vs. wants and it's had a profound effect on me and my work as a Transformational Coach.  Desire derives from desiderare, a Latin word that means "to await what the stars will bring." The Latin word siderus means "star or heavenly body," reminiscent of the folklore that people wish upon a star for what they most desire. Compare this perspective to “want,” with one definition being “a sense of lack, the state of being without something desired or needed.”  Forget 'wanting' anything anymore...let's connect with the stars aligning with desire.

I'm all about tapping into what we desire while maintaining the importance of finding joy and peace in the present moment. This philosophy alone is quite contradictory, but I am adamant on trying to capture that balance between striving and growing with gratitude. Gaining clarity and rediscovery on our desires will be top of mind at the salon-style wellness-inspired benefit 'Desire to Destiny' on Sunday, May 15th in Brooklyn, supporting The Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger.

Below are the post-event photos showing the joyful experience we all shared. Photos courtesy of Nicholas Pierre.

What do you desire to create? This is a difficult question for some and others it can feel crystal clear but so far off in the distance. We have so many facets of our lives and some may feel in sync while other areas need extra attention. Take into consideration all these aspects of your life...love & romance, creativity, spirituality, friendships & family, fun and recreation, career, finances, health & wellness. We can't possibly be at the top of our game with everything, but what we can do is take the time to reflect and decide what is most important to us right now & set some wheels in motion towards personal development and growth in our desired areas of the moment.

One of my coaching clients has the financial quadrant of her life in perfect order. She has no qualms about her finances and has a strong relationship with money. It's love and overall personal relationships that she is persistently taking steps towards transforming. Through my transformational coaching program she has developed a stronger sense of self to stand firm in her beliefs and what she deserves. This has allowed for those inner circle relationships to strengthen but we are still on the path to opening the heart for authentic intimate love.  Yet I am still in awe how she accomplished her clear goal of living a bi-coastal life with an apartment on the East and West coast. Despite many obstacles, she did achieve that goal with much diligence & the radiant confidence that blossomed through her dedication to self-love and personal development. This overall radiance is evident and as a result she has garnered respect and is in-demand as a creative professional. When you are in-demand, bi-coastal living is possible if you want, can't you? I admire my coaching client on many levels for her dedication to growing and living life to the fullest on her terms.  We are all on the path and it's important to know what we desire and where we want to go with it.

I'm not one to believe we can all 'have it all."  Different phases of life bring forth fresh values. Isn't it great to be clear on where we are right now? This clarity is what evades many of us. The inherent fear of judgement, failure and self-doubt stands in the way of our potential. We must persevere! As a coach I thrive on supporting creatives and change-makers to push through those cob webs and stand in their light to start taking action towards personal goals and dreams. This is my passion. Life is not perfect and I as a 'recovering perfectionist' myself I have to constantly remind myself to stay present, be grateful and 'just do it' regardless of those fearful thoughts that have stood in my way.

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As a Prince fanatic and aside from the devastation from his recent passing, I found such sadness in learning that he was living in pain for a long time, but always just kept on telling all those close to him “I'm ok.” According to an article in The New York Times, Prince was able to hide his painkiller addictions from most. He always insisted the show must go on and disregarded his truth of needing rest and help. When Prince finally agreed to accept help, it came to him one day too late. Covering up the imperfections can only last so long. To free ourselves, its important to get clarity about what we desire and be open to the support and love coming our way. How fitting are two quotes from Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly, "When we pretend that we can avoid vulnerability we engage in behaviors that are often inconsistent with who we want to be." "Sometimes our first and greatest dare is asking for support." A powerful, gentle reminder for us all not to let pride get in the way. Much easier said than done.

Join us, Benjamin Le Hay, Billy Morrissette and Funmilyo of Fusha Dance as we celebrate the beauty of community at our salon-style wellness benefit supporting Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger. You'll be sure to leave us reinvigorated with at least a few fresh insights for your future, some mindfulness practices and if you are daring and open to the healing vibes of African dance, I have recruited my master Congolese teacher Funmilyo Chesney to teach us a mini-dance class, it's optional, don't worry. In honor of Prince...you can channel your “Sexy MF'er shakin' that ass.” Those drums can get you going, but sorry it' not going to turn into a Prince party.

Funmilayo doing her thing. Peep me on back up

Funmilayo doing her thing. Peep me on back up

Come join us if you are local, support those in desperate need in Brooklyn and get inspired.  Suggested donation is $20.

Spread the word to friends you feel may be interested......

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Creatives & Changemakers Profile: DJ Rekha on music, achievement & passion

I'm excited to introduce a new profile series "Creatives & Changemakers."  I have always loved to surround myself with creativity. The intention for this new profile series is to highlight creative people that fascinate and inspire me. These changemakers are igniting shifts in our consciousness through their unique contributions to our world.  I am proud to introduce this interview with internationally renowned DJ Rekha, hailed as the “Ambassador of Bhangra” by The New York Times. DJ Rekha is founder and producer of one of the longest running & most successful parties in NYC, Basement Bhangra and Bollywood Disco. She produces a weekly radio show Bhangra & Beyond & has an international audience...including President Obama when she was spinning in the East Room of the White House! Her accolades go on and on. We actually go way back since our childhood in Westbury, Long Island and I'm thrilled to be able to spread the love and share her inspiring gifts.  The next Basement Bhangra's 19th Year Birthday Bash on Thursday, April 7th. I hope you can join me on the dance floor.

Photo courtesty of Sangament Media  

Photo courtesty of Sangament Media

 

Hope's Q: When I think back to our childhood in Long Island, for me personally, music ruled my world. Fast forward a decade and I would hear our friends say, ”Hey, did you know Rekha is a DJ?” The Westbury crew was oh so proud. You introduced me to the world of Bhangra, as you have done for countless others. What were your early influences in cultivating your love of music?

DJ Rekha's A: I had a array of early influences. One of them was Indian music that my parents listened to. We had a car and yes, I'm that old—where we had a 8-track player in the car. They had this one cassette called Film Hits '72, the best film hits from Indian movies of 1972, and if you know what an 8-track is, it's endless. It just keeps repeating. The other thing I listened to was the radio...and the radio in the '70's was magic, or it feels that way. When we moved to Long Island from Queens, I was introduced to a whole new world, because the community there was very mixed, African-American, Caribbean-American, and so I got exposed to a whole other range of music. But the other major influence at 9 years old was that John Lennon died. Due to John Lennon's death, there was so much Beatles music everywhere---it was 20 years ago that The Beatles came, it was 10 years that this happened, it was this anniversary--I just felt like even though they were not exactly of my generation, I was surrounded by The Beatles and I really got involved. The thing that really helped me discover music was the public library. The Westbury Public Library had a tremendous music collection and there were these magazines that printed lyrics. I learned the lyrics of a lot of songs before I knew the songs.

Hope's A: Wow, such a broad range of influences. Reminiscing over that library.

Hope & DJ Rekha @ Basement Bhangra, NYC

Hope & DJ Rekha @ Basement Bhangra, NYC

DJ Rekha's A: That's kind of my earliest rounds of influences, and then at some point in Long Island I got into this radio station called WLIR, which played what we would call now electronic dance music. Then it was called New Wave. There were all these different things happening, the Indian stuff, Casey Kasem's American Top 40, KISS FM which was tremendous for us growing up. It was everything.

Hope's A: I loved WLIR and was obsessed with 'new wave'...loved the punk 80s looks and vibing off The Smiths and The Cure! But then again... YES, KISS FM was my everything, my life revolved around that music, classic soul, hip-hop, R&B, reggae. Oh we are aging ourselves...the good ol' days.

DJ Rekha's A: I started listening to this station called WBAI who had these great music shows.. and one time they did a whole Prince special. And we were into Prince then anyway--Purple Rain--but I got to hear old Prince. And I was just hooked and hooked.

Hope's A: Oh, my God, yes. Absolutely. Beyond hooked on Prince.

DJ Rekha's A: I mean, I gotta tell you this Prince story.

Hope's A: Please do.

DJ Rekha's A: I was so hooked on Prince, and going to Westbury High School, I remember being let out of class with a friend, so we could call up from the office in school to get Prince tickets. Our assistant principal Mr. Reed, rest in peace, actually asked his cousin who worked at the school if we could use her credit card! So I went it to the show and it gets better. The ticket stated to wear something purple. So the only thing I had was this sweater that had strawberries on it, but it was purple and I wore it. I felt like such a dork--wearing this weird sweater that had purple strawberries on it. But I was like, 'it said wear purple.'

 

Rekha & Hope, Prince obsessed Long Island kids. I'm so hatin' on Rekha for experiencing the Purple Rain tour. Still mad Mom!!!!  

Rekha & Hope, Prince obsessed Long Island kids. I'm so hatin' on Rekha for experiencing the Purple Rain tour. Still mad Mom!!!!

 

Hope's A: LOL! That is unbelievable. Well, my devastating Prince story is that my brother and I begged on our knees (literally) to my mother to see the Purple Rain tour. I think I was 14 and he was 12. Of course her answer was no way whatsoever. Because it was raunchy, and she knew it, and--to this day my brother & I will never forget, yet still trying to forgive. We both made it up to ourselves a decade later when we saw Prince at an intimate performance at the Palladium with surprise guest Lenny Kravitz and his gorgeous then dancer-wife Mayte. Don't let us start going on and on about Prince, this is about you!

DJ Rekha's A: I have the booklet, I have the tour book. I've seen him more in concert probably more than anyone else.

Hope's Q : You are known for single-handedly spearheading the Bhangra scene  in NYC and beyond. A mutual friend said to me, “Yeah, I went to one of Rekha's parties all dressed up, not knowing what to expect. I didn't know Indian people get down like that? If I would've known, I would've been sweating it up on the dance floor I would've worn something else. I had the time of my life.” What was the first step you took on your path towards getting the party jumpin'?

DJ Rekha's A: Well, it's interesting that she said “ I didn't know Indian people could get down like that” because I feel like that's a really loaded statement, and I have my own version of that with our mutual best friend. But first...I got my first set of turntables when I was in college already, my cousins & I decided to start a DJ crew, because we saw other people in our community doing it. I knew I could do better than that because I was a music head, always. We started doing parties using CD's, we literally didn't know anything.

DJ Rekha spinning at Basement Bhangra

DJ Rekha spinning at Basement Bhangra

So, I eventually got turntables and my high school friend Phil, who was a DJ, would come over to show me a few things. One day he just said, “you just gotta be loose, you just gotta feel it, it's just kick/snare, kick/snare, 1-2, 1-2.” That was my first lesson about really listening to the music without just playing song after song.

I remember being really excited and proud that I had this DJ setup. And our friend came over and I showed it to her, and she said something I'll never forget--- “Look at Rekha trying to be black.” And I was like, “Wow”, and that was really interesting, because--it just speaks volumes about the complexity of race and about cultural access. We grew up together, we had the same cultural experiences, yet, at that moment in time and--I would say rightly so, hip-hop was seen as a black art.

Hope's A: Yes it was and many would argue still is, despite it's current worldwide universal appeal.

DJ Rekha's A : Now the top DJ's in the world are white men, you know, a very particular looking white guy. It goes both ways, right? “Look at Rekha being black” and then “I didn't know you people get down like that?” What is that conception coming from? I just sit around and do yoga all day or go to elaborate weddings, I don't know?

Hope's A: We could go on and one about this issue of race, stereotypes and misunderstandings. I do want to revisit this in the future.

Hope's Q: Sometimes we all have grand ideas about changing the world for the better, but I see over and over again, it's about one person having an idea, taking a chance and then connecting the dots with other like-minded individuals. You can look through history and see all the powerful movements and inventions began the same way. How did Basement Bhangra, your genre-defying, massively celebrated in New York City nightlife institution, evolve into becoming Bhangra's introduction to music today?

DJ Rekha's A: Basement Bhangra caught on quick, and it was a little right place, right time. The party started as a counter to the young South Asian party scene I started becoming a part of and also, a sort of activist space. I think that the magic of Basement Bhangra was that I would not play Top 40 music. At that time there was an aversion to hip hop and Bhangra, because within South Asian music there's Bollywood which is a music from the films, and Bhangra is Punjabi . Bhangra is seen as cab driver music/low-class, and hip hop is seen as thug music, so I was like, f*ck y'all, I want a party that plays both! To avoid the cut-throat world of event promoting in NYC I decided I would hold the party the first Thursday of every month. Subsequently, I am one of the first monthly parties in New York. I was just like appointment, first Thursday, just know that's where you have to be. That really helped solidify Basement Bhangra. And let me tell you, girl, for the last 18 years the first Thursday, I've been in the same place.

The initial crowds were people of my community and the first event we did was with Bally Sagoo, who is this producer and artist that's very influential to me, from the U.K. and our first night was super-packed. But the party built organically on its own, and I think the crowd that came over were refreshed to hear Bhangra in a club space loud. And the music was new, Bhangra was becoming more accessible dance music and blended with dance hall rhythms and hip hop beats and it sort of jelled. We would play a Bhangra set and mix it seamlessly into a hip hop set, cause it just made sense, or a dance hall set, going back and forth, and the people that came like all those genres, like me.

Then I was a musical fascist. I was like, “No, we're not going to paint a broad brush. We're not playing every kind of Indian music. We're going to play Bhangra, and we're going to play it hard, we're going to go heavy. We're going to play stuff that you don't think we should play at a club. We're gonna get really--there's a word in Punjabi, it's called pendu, which is "we're gonna get really village.”

It was also about making sure like the right people are in the space and really rewarding people who dance, and really creating a space that is about dancing. Always about movement.

Hope's A: My kind of party.

Hope & Vinita get our groove on @ Basement Bhangra last summer @ Le Poisson Rouge, NYC.

Hope's Q: What does creative expression mean to you?

DJ Rekha's A: I'm very much of the mind that art needs to be the art, and I'm not the kind of artist that directly imbues messaging or whatever in my art, it's not overt. One responsibility I feel I have, in regards to my art, is cultural representation. Bhangra is from Punjab, the land divided by India and Pakistan, I try to be super careful with cultural representation.

Hope' s Q: Newsweek has recognized you as one of the most influential South Asians in the US. That is huge! What does that say to you about the power of your work?

DJ Rekha's A: I don't know, I wish I had more power, so I wouldn't be stressed about the rent. With that and subsequent CNN profile there's been a lot of mainstream media attention to what I do and it's like immigrant does good, does different. But I do think that there's a desire to come up with lists, and some people make the lists and some people don't, but it doesn't mean you're better than people who are not on the list. But I just take it all in. You got to just keep your sh*t in check.

             Hope Q: What can you share about following your heart and living out your passions?

DJ Rekha's A: I think the idea of following your passion can only happen when you're in a position of privilege.

Hope's A: Absolutely. We must have so much gratitude for our lives, no matter what is going on.

DJ Rekha's A: So I think--as an artist, you have to strategize in how you can follow your passion. I'm really pragmatic. It's like, you can be passionate all you want, but if you can't make your rent, there's no passion, and if you have financial stress, there's no passion. The most important things are building and finding community---like-minded people that can support you, challenge you, strategize with you and engage you intellectually. In terms of following your passion, if it's what you want to do, then be in it 100 percent. Take yourself seriously. Passion isn't enough, it's work too. Just wanting to do something is not enough. You have to be responsible, accountable to yourself and people around you.

* Rekha's wisdom is truth.

Come join me this Thursday, April 7th for Basement Bhangra's 29th Birthday Bash!

If you want to meet me there, email me at events@inarukundo.com and we'll get it touch about when to meet on the dance floor. You may need a disco nap. :)

As Transformational Coach+ Fashion Consultant my innate passion and intuitive talents involve supporting creatives and changemakers on their own personal path towards self-empowerment, aiding in the rediscovery process of one's authentic self and standing as support to achieve goal and make major shifts. Relationships and career transitions are my specialties. 

***I'm offering a Special Spark Session Challenge to 'all the single ladies' and gay men in theirmid-30s & 40s with a desire to be in joyful relationship with a life partner + desire to blossom @ work. I am offering a complimentary coaching Spark Sessions once a day for 2 weeks straight. This offer is specifically for those creatives who desire transformation with love+work. ....Premium Coaching programs will definitely inspire radical transformation. No, this has nothing to do with dating advice. It's about subtle mindset shifts and fresh ways of being that make all the difference. Email me hope@inarukundo.com to schedule a private life-changing Spark Session. Bonus: receive my special Meditation video + other goodies.

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LET'S TAKE IT SLOW. --- 4 KEY BENEFITS TO SLOWING DOWN

LET'S TAKE IT SLOW. --- 4 KEY BENEFITS TO SLOWING DOWN

Lately, I have had a keen awareness on the power of slowing down. Rushing around and mastering the art of multi-tasking never truly allows us joy and fulfillment.  For me, the answer is always to slow down. Stay mindful. Be present. When anxiety or fear creeps up, just taking a moment to stop and breathe can have profound benefit.

New York Fashion Week blast from my past (me with some sexy model.) I produced this show @ Cipriani's back in the day. Photo credit: Patrick McMullen

New York Fashion Week blast from my past (me with some sexy model.) I produced this show @ Cipriani's back in the day. Photo credit: Patrick McMullen

Living in NYC, working in the fashion world and especially doing PR was a super fast paced existence for many years. I remember years ago my close friend, a high school teacher, came to visit me at my office during fashion week. She just stared at me in amazement how I was handling multiple calls, countless emails flooding in and a large staff asking questions. She thought I was insane. At the time, I was proud of myself for mastering the art of multi-tasking pretty well. Now, I have come to realize that without keen focus and sufficient time to organize and delegate, balls are dropped, mistakes happen, someone's not happy and guess what? You are stressed the hell out!

Ever rush to send an email and then wish desperately that you never heard that “swoosh” sent sound? This is when slowing down really does come in handy. I had a client share with me that she was so angry she sent a rude, accusatory email to a huge client, thinking that she would have the upper hand after doing so. As soon as she clicked send, she knew it was a mistake. At a business dinner when she finally met this client in person, she felt even worse for her negative email discovering it was based on misunderstanding and cultural differences. Karma ensued and despite a successful completion of the project, their final payment was withheld, for an unreasonable amount of time, resulting in struggle and stress.

How can slowing down be of benefit? She discovered it's possible to draft an email and then pause before sending, stop and go for a walk, conduct research before false accusations, relax and tap into the wisdom of intuition.

FOUR KEY BENEFITS TO SLOWING DOWN

  1. FOCUS ON THE TASK AT HAND

In the past I myself have been falsely labeled “slow” by those that couldn't get the results they want from their own work. One colleague was in shock after reflecting what I achieved in a short amount of time by focusing on the task at hand, one thing at a time. The pressure was on, but I made it happen. After the event she said, “Hope, you really did prove that slow and steady wins the race.” Really? I was reminded that for some, slowing down is a sign of weakness, of inefficiency. I'm not saying exist at a snails pace, but being present and focusing with attention to detail often leads to positive results. Deadlines are real and swift competence is vital at times, yet there is always a balance and it can be achieved with dedication. But how? Mindfulness is the way.

2. CHILL WITH THE PEOPLE PLEASING AND FEELING RUSHED TO REPLY

Ever get asked a challenging question and felt the pressure to answer right away when you weren't clear on your reply? Ever agree to something, volunteer for a task or mention words you would've never said if you took a moment to think about it? I have rushed into answering so many times, it's insane. This has resulted in shifts in relationships, degrading integrity, bad interviews, regrets and so on. I often remind myself to take my own advice. Rather than an automatic “yes” that I am ashamed of admitting I used to say too often, I found a fantastic rebuttal that has proved to work... a pause or “I'll get back to you” or “Let me think about it.” These simple phrases have opened up my world.

3. ANY CHANCE YOU GET, ENJOY THE SCENERY

Congaree National Park, South Carolina. photo via 99 Travel Tips

Congaree National Park, South Carolina. photo via 99 Travel Tips

The mindfulness practice of walking meditation can offer much benefit to our busy day. Normally walking meditation requires you to walk extra slowly, as if you are taking a step with each breath. You can bring your awareness to your feet touching the earth with each step, you can notice the nature around you and enjoy it's beauty. All this can actually take place during your busy days, even in the urban jungles. I do this everyday in NYC...walking at a normal pace, I simply bring my consciousness to each step, observing the sky, trees, birds, whatever slice of nature resonates with me. Even my clients who knew nothing about this practice, find joy and sense of peace when they mindfully walk about town.

4. TIME FOR A TECH DETOX

Observe the world around you. Remember those olden days when we actually looked at each other and talked? Where we had conversations on the phone to get to know a love interest? Earth to singles out there...you can not find love via text! Tips for your Tech-Detox: a) Try turning of devices earlier than normal in the evenings. b) Put your phone away when you travel & observe your surroundings c) Turn your cell off when out to dinner or meet with friends c) Refrain from observing or posting on social media for one day if you are addicted. d) Make Sunday not only your day of rest, but a smartphone free day.

If you can relate, join me in carving out time to take back your life and precious time. Slow down and be selective! Share with me your insights on the art of slowing down in the comments below. Love to hear what you have to say. If you like it, share it.

As Transformational Coach+ Fashion Consultant my innate passion and intuitive talents involve supporting creatives and changemakers on their own personal path towards self-empowerment, aiding in the rediscovery process of one's authentic self and standing as support to achieve goal and make major shifts. Relationships and career transitions are my specialties.  Click here to learn more about working with me. Nurturing my "passion for fashion," I help mamas rediscover their own personal "fly" with my “Style Rejuvenation” program. Just the act of sending some love to my clients' personal style offers great benefit...joy, fun, confidence, power etc. I've been bestowed the honor of being called a “catalyst for change."

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shift your habits and set it off

The New Year always represents the chance to start anew, with fresh perspectives, inspiring goals, optimism, good vibes. How can we hold onto these uplifting spirits and keep it flowing through the rest of the year? I'm really into transforming habit energy. You know, those negative habits that keep you in place, repeating the same ol' and then we wonder why we get the same results we don't want anyway. Isn't it time to squash them once and for all? It is possible to make these shifts and the first step originates with awareness. This process takes time, so patience with ourselves is vital...though in our modern world of immediate gratification, patience isn't always a core strength.

Transforming our negative habit energy begins with first admitting---we have to change our negative thoughts! This can be so difficult. We all have this transgenerational karma, perspectives and experiences that we may not be aware of that can drain our positive energy and hold us back.  It is true that in the present moment we still can carry the karmic energy of our ancestors. We are our past whether we know what that past entails or not, but this doesn't have to be our fate. Unfortunately my father and step-father carried quite a bit of negative energy in their lives and mindsets. It is still a process for me to break free since I now have this awareness on a deep level.  As Joanne Friday, my beloved Dharma Teacher stated, “We must chose to constantly place our mind in the highest and best places.” But how?

Buddha is chillin', Hope is chillin', What more can I say...Top Billin'. (You got me in a crazy mood.) Photo credit: kelledia.tumblr.com

Buddha is chillin', Hope is chillin', What more can I say...Top Billin'. (You got me in a crazy mood.) Photo credit: kelledia.tumblr.com

Buddhist psychology teaches first we must find the root cause of our bad habits. This is through meditative concentration, deep reflection and then developing compassionate understanding for ourselves, aka being kind to ourselves, practicing self-love. Often times we are so hard on ourselves, we are our own worst enemy. When we can see ourselves going down the rabbit hole of negative vibes, we can stop immediately, reflect and shift gears. Asking ourselves.... 'What is the truth?' 'What wonderful right here and now?' Within my spiritual studies I've learned a number of universal feminine false beliefs I have held about myself, that are completely not true, but boy did I believe these negative whispers for decades.

One Tuesday morning at 6:30am, I was on my way to attend a BNI business networking breakfast. I have never been to this particular meeting, yet assumed it would be corporate and normally I don't feel comfortable in über corporate environments. It was so damn early in the morning, I was wondering what the hell I was doing coming all the way from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side at 6:30am! Is networking really this important?

As I was entering the building, there was a glossy plaque on the building stating it was a Republican club building of some sort. My mind immediately went into judgement mode. Now I do agree with the Buddhist Samiddhi Sutra as described my Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn, which talks about the 'trap of complexes – thinking you are better, worse than or equal to others.' Humanity is interconnected and when we realize there is not a separate self and we are all connected, then there is more of a chance of harmony and happiness. --- All that inner wisdom was out the door at those wee hours for this night owl. I was raised with rather liberal values and though I know plenty of kind Republicans, hanging out at a Republican club house with strangers at 6:30am is not really within my comfort zone. My mind was already shouting “This is not my scene!” The truth is BNI was just renting a suite, as I wasn't entering a Republican convention.

I enter the elevator and my false belief that was ingrained since childhood was repeating itself “I don't belong.” Yet within a few seconds of this negative habit energy flowing I actually stopped, noticed and said to myself there was no point in my getting up so early and making this trek if I was going to have this negative vibe stepping off the elevator. I immediately shifted my mind and kept repeating my powerful mantra “I belong,” negating that false belief.  It was that simple. Within the few minutes of that elevator ride, my energy took a positive shift and I physically felt the difference of radiating positive light. As I stepped off the elevator, I felt comfortable just being me and meeting all the different business people at the breakfast. I ended up making some great connections and was able to truly enjoy the beauty of the gorgeous building with a huge balcony overlooking Manhattan's skyline as we had a summer sunrise breakfast and learned about each other's industries. It was fruitful morning and I learned a lot about the power of the mind and my own power to determine my fate and my feelings in any situation. Releasing judgement and radiating positive energy is real. I have witnessed these successful shifts in mindset in every one of my coaching clients. It's so crazy to see how life blossoms when we just make a conscious choice to transform our perspectives! It takes effort, but it sure is worth it.

THREE STEPS TO TRANSFORM HABITS THAT HOLD US BACK:

  1. Quiet Contemplation

    You've heard it a thousand times, but developing a meditation practice is paramount in my book. If this sounds daunting, just make a pact to yourself in the New Year to give yourself 5- 10 minutes a day to relax and focus on your breathing. You would be surprised how quickly time flies.  Add music to the mix to get you in the zone. I love this beautiful album "Healing" that supposed to open up the chakras, Healing Earth is my favorite ethereal song from the artist Anugama. If you are familiar with Buddhist meditation, check “Tibetan Singing Bowl, Music for Deep Meditation”, though I'm thinking that if you haven't practiced with a meditation bowl before, you may think gong sounds are pure craziness.

  2. The written word.

    I find writing to be a gateway to the soul and deep reflection flows when you allow yourself to look in the mirror and get real. In order to envision our bright futures and bring it into fruition, we must have clarity. There is no achievement if we don't know what we want. Here are some powerful questions to start you off. Free flow and write from the heart.

Write..whenever, whenever, whenever. I've been journaling since the age of 6...love it!

Write..whenever, whenever, whenever. I've been journaling since the age of 6...love it!

  • What small achievements in 2015 can I celebrate? Celebrating the small stuff = joy.

  • What do you most desire to:

    • a. Experience?

    • b. Express?

    • c. Create?

    • d. Contribute?

  • What habits do I want to transform in 2016?

3. Take Action.

To kick off the New Year, just pick one habit you want to tackle. I'm ashamed to admit I had 20 damn habits I wanted to shift when I did this exercise!!!! So as you can see, I am too hard on myself as we speak!!! :) Transformation is an evolutionary process. Make a plan, something doable and start small. What actions need to shift? Make a commitment you can keep.

One of my key action steps is to drop the sugar addiction, which is not easy, since I'm a chocoholic. Each day I need to make conscious choices and this is my focus because my health is front and center for me. Cutting sugar is no joke, it's hidden everywhere!  Though I forgive my slip-ups, I am staying the course. What's it for you?

The best part is....you don't have to be perfect! Yeah for all us 'recovering perfectionists!' In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, headed by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher, they confirmed on average it takes 66 days for a new habit to take shape. Of course this varies widely depending on the individual and lifestyle, yet on a whole this study, confirmed it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for us to form a new habit. Practice patience, determination and diligence and be aware that it will probably take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build a new behavior into your life. This study debunked the 21-day myth.....boo hoo...no quick fixes! Transforming habits is a process, an art form, a scientific experiment. Just channel Thomas Edison when you fail and succumb to that stubborn habit that is taking hold...“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Dust yourself off and develop a strategy to get back on track. I can feel the fear of failure dissipating already! As I avoid the chocolate bar & cookies in my pantry, I'm feeling moved to quote some old school 80's electro dance hip-hop...

Ya'll want this party right? Ya'll want this party started quickly, right? Set it Off for 2016!!

Are you bold enough to share the one habit you are going to transform? Comment below...Inquiring minds want to know. :) If you like this, please share and "Set if off, I suggest ya'll." :)

Feel the need for some extra support in your radical transformations in the New Year? Reach out to inquire about my complimentary Spark Sessions offering a taste of my Premium Transformative Coaching Program "Ignite Your Insight." I only have a few open slots left for registration this January. Click here to reach out.
 

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RADIANCE...GET YOUR GLOW&LET THE REST GO

Don't you love those spontaneous profound experiences that end up being the best times ever? Well I got an impromptu lesson on the power of radiance and freedom that inspired me to share insights on getting our glow on and letting the rest go. 

It all went down when I witnessed the headliner at Afro Punk's Fancy Dress Ball who was none other than Grace Jones. My words can't express the sheer appreciation of individuality and bold creativity that exuded from this icon. Now, her voice is no Chaka, she may not be the premiere hit-maker, but that actually meant nothing. I have never seen anything quite like it, costume changes for EVERY song and all. Wearing nothing but a corset, g-string and Nigerian Ibo tribal paint inspired by collaborations with her friend Keith Haring, she proceeded to exude sheer freedom, confidence, wild imaginative creative expression and pure fearlessness...all at the ripe age of 67! My life unexpectedly shifted a bit that night.

Grace Jones performs at the Afro Punk Festival 2015. Photo credit: Nicole Fara Silver for The New York Times.

Grace Jones performs at the Afro Punk Festival 2015. Photo credit: Nicole Fara Silver for The New York Times.

This empowering quote from Marianne Williamson broke down my reawakening oh so eloquently....

"Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, "who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?"  Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God; your playing small doesn't serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.  It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others."

Some of us just naturally exude that power, freedom and radiance, but all of us have it. Oh boy, I spent decades dimming my light. It's a crying shame. Those that know me, may say, “What is she even talking about?” I like to be bold, look my best, do my best, but it is true. My upbringing to be the good girl, the responsible one, the Catholic girl/strict stereotypes are all within me. I found it difficult to shed all that and just feel free. I noticed about myself that I am strong, confident and daring in some areas of my life and then just succumb to old negative habit energy in other areas of life. Awareness is everything. Had to go through the darkness to get to the light. I'll forever be on the path, but I am conscious of my own radiance and my deepest intention is for all of us to radiate our own powerful essence.  Despite being inspired or even envious of others, we can only truly be ourselves.

Playing it small is officially over.

5 KEYS to radiate your own glow and let the rest go.

  1. Be bold----for you. Definition: don't try to be someone you're are not, just push your personal boundaries beyond those comfort zones. You know what I did to shock my comfort zone? I posted a picture on Instagram of myself in my retro bikini poolside with one of my close friends. For those that know me, I would normally NEVER do such a thing. I'm not that type, but for others girls that's no big deal. What small step will you take to move beyond your comfort zone?

  2. Let Go and release all the bullsh*t. I normally do this exercise on New Year's Eve, but was recently reminded of the powerful exercise from my friend & health coach guru Alex Jamieson... Get small pieces of paper, ex. index cards and on each paper write down one thing you want to let go of. What fears are holding you back? What difficulty in your life are you ready to purge? What thoughts are you ready to free yourself from? Then go and burn it. Release it all into the universe and let it go. It's quite freeing.

  3. Put the time into how you dress and present yourself to the world. Want to exude radiance? WEAR COLOR. I've said it before and I'll say it again. What colors do you love? Wear a little something in that color.  After the guided meditation I offered at my last Visioning Party,  the color red really resonated with a guest and I suggested she wear more red in her wardrobe and be bold with red lips. Seriously, such amazing life transformations happened for her after doing so. I love fashion icon Iris Apfel's quote "Downtown, they think they're so stylish, but they all wear black. That's not really style. That's a uniform.” Try wearing an accessory that offers you a sense of power. I wear certain bracelets and rings that remind me of my inner radiance. It may sound crazy, but it works for me. (I offer my “Style Rejuvenation” program to busy mamas who lost their way with their personal style and need to get their wardrobe and mindset back to fly-ness. If this resonates with you, find out more here.) My personal motto, has always been, "If you look good, you feel good." I'm hosting a beauty & wellness event on Sept. 29th in NYC entitled "LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD." Click here for the evite or see below.

  4. The power of meditation.  It's oh so cliché at this point, but if you don't already have a meditation practice, try it. There are countless teachings on meditation, but just start by giving yourself the gift of silence and follow the rhythm of your breath. Sitting for even 10 minutes can be quite transformative.  Here is a little gatha (short poem) by Zen Master Ven. Thich Nhat Hahn to aid or enhance your meditation.  Even if it's 5 minutes a day.....just do it.  I feel the difference on days when I meditate and when I skip it.

           Breathe In, I am breathing in

           Breathe Out, I am breathing out

           Breathe In, I calm my body

           Breathe Out, I smile

          Present Moment, Wonderful Moment - 

When you put a small smile on your face during your breathing, you'd be surprised all the positive energy you emit and receive.

5. Move that Body. What do you love to do? Pilates, soccer, tennis, rock climbing, anything, just get up and do it. Movement is the basis for all transformation. Without your health, there is nothing. I can barely catch a ball for anything but swimming is my love, what is yours?

What does Radiance mean to you? I would love to hear your comments, so please share here and with your friends. Do you have a deep desire to shed some false beliefs and rediscover your inner radiance to make some serious moves? Click here for a complimentary coaching Spark Session with me.

Chillin' on The Highline in NYC. A splash of bold color livens me up. Try mixing in color if you find yourself in the neutral safe zone.

Chillin' on The Highline in NYC. A splash of bold color livens me up. Try mixing in color if you find yourself in the neutral safe zone.


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