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Life Lessons from the Tropical Transformation Wellness Retreat

I had such a fantastic time co-curating the Tropical Transformation Wellness Retreat with Rashia Bell of The Cristalline. The grounds of the beach front property in Colombia was tropical beauty to the max and it didn’t hurt that the food was incredible. Thankfully we had lots of fun, transformative activities to burn it all off.

The experience that is etched in my mind was the Temazcal…which is reminiscent of an ancient Mayan Sweat Lodge for the purpose of clearing the mind of negative vibes and cleansing the body of impurities, with many health benefits. I attended my first Temazcal in Tulum, Mexico and absolutely loved it and was completely transformed afterwards. This Colombian version was a total brand new experience. A lovely Shaman Serena was spearheading this Temazcal and she was the real deal. It seemed like she had a magic pouch and within that there were lots of little pouches filled with magic herbs. When she would dig in her pouch and sprinkle some of these herbs onto the hot rocks, they lit up like little sparkling firecrackers.

Imagine a big bonfire under the midnight sky with stars surrounding us in every direction. You could see the stars so clearly…nothing like in NYC….of course star gazing under palm trees is pretty magical. On one side are all of us from the retreat, the other side were local Colombians that joined in on the festivities. Experiencing this Temazcal was a bonding moment for all of us. We found ourselves going with the flow with all the wild experiences that were going down. Between the plant medicines, steamy rocks, the heat, indigenous Colombian prayers and songs, rounds and rounds of rituals, offerings, peace pipes, splashing water, meditations…..all taking place in an igloo-shaped hut specifically designed for our Temazcal, it definitely reminded me of a rites of passage situation and I’m happy to say we all did it. We all experienced whatever we were meant to experience and it was truly unforgettable.

 Rashia, Serena and Hope @ The Tropical Transformation Wellness Retreat in Colombia. Photo Credit: Amelie Pichard  @iconink.design

Rashia, Serena and Hope @ The Tropical Transformation Wellness Retreat in Colombia. Photo Credit: Amelie Pichard @iconink.design

We all learned a lot from our first wellness retreat together. I broke it down here….

Life Lessons from the first ever Tropical Transformation Wellness Retreat:

  • “Structured Fluidity” was the name of our game. It’s vital to be able to go with the flow when things don’t always go as planned.

  • Everything happens for a reason. Accept it and be aware to learn your lessons from it.

  • Push through fear and do it anyway

  • Going to sleep and waking up to the sounds of the ocean and tropical birds is bliss

  • Indigenous lands are precious. It was an honor to experience special sacred pools of various indigenous tribes.

  • We all have perseverance beyond our imaginations. The Temazcal pushed my limits, but I made it through and did experience some sort of spiritual healing I can’t explain.

  • Vulnerability was a recurring theme. Being able to open your heart to share your emotions and let others in is vital on the path to peace of mind.

  • It is possible to heal. Sometimes we just have to give ourselves the time and space.

  • Follow your intuition. It will never steer you wrong. Stop and Listen.

  • Mindfulness is the way. The present moment is a wonderful moment.

  • Feminine power is no joke!

  • The tropical beauty of Colombia is stunning and evokes joy.


It was wonderful to hear that our guests truly felt “transformed” when they got home. After the deep healing through wellness-inspired experiences, plus the tropical excursions and relaxing vibes, it was special moment in time for all. We are in the planning stages for the next retreat in 2019, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you are in desperate need to make a change with your love or professional life than take advantage of my special holiday deals on the Private Premium Coaching Programs I have available. Take advantage of my complimentary Spark Session here.

*All photos by Amelie Pichard @iconink.design

*Special Thanks to Vancouver Candle Company for the fabulous candles

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Rejuvenate your mind, body and soul on the Tropical Transformation Wellness Retreat

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Join me in tropical paradise for my first international wellness retreat in Santa Marta, Colombia. I'm so excited to share with you that I'm co-hosting an incredible wellness retreat, November 7-12th, 2018, in the lush tropics of Colombia. My partner for our "Tropical Transformation Wellness Retreat" is Rashia Bell, a friend, past client, influential crystal healer, interior designer and all around inspirational woman.  We have curated an incredibly rejuvenating wellness retreat at a luxurious nature resort alongside picture-perfect Caribbean seashores, tucked within the lush tropical mountains and sacred, indigenous lands near Santa Marta, Colombia.

I look at it this way. This November, right after you vote on Election Day, get the hell outta here and unwind with us. Do your part to change our world for the better and than indulge in radical self-care at the Tropical Tranformation Wellness Retreat.  De-stress and reinvigorate your mind, body and soul with all sorts of empowering workshops, crystal healing, yoga, unforgettable day excursions to sacred pools, tropical mindful hiking to remote beaches, experience the healing powers of an Temazcal ceremony, enjoy delicious locally sourced cuisine, lots of chill time , private coaching sessions and more.  Let's connect in Colombia this November. It's going to be so amazing!


I just had to share this story from Rashia Bell's newsletter for The Cristalline talking about how our coaching relationship transformed her life. The story begins here...

It’s important for me to tell you the story about how we (Hope & I) met at a vision board workshop that she was hosting!  When I think back to that experience, I remember both the intensity and fear that I felt when tasked with creating a visual representation of what I wanted my life to be. I also recall a visualization exercise that we did that was so clear and so vivid, that my energetic and physical body was immediately transported to a space that was years older than I am now. Needless to say, it blew my mind! Hope reached out to me after the event, to get my thoughts on the experience and to share info on her Life Coaching services. I didn’t know if I needed a life coach, but I was at a period in my life where I was really trying to make changes in many areas and definitely feeling stuck. I liked the idea of having someone hold me accountable, and it seemed like a good thing that would be very different than traditional psycho-therapy.

 Rashia Bell of The Cristalline, Crystal Healer, Interior Designer

Rashia Bell of The Cristalline, Crystal Healer, Interior Designer

On the spot in that conversation, I signed up for 6 months! The time frame was important to me because I really felt like it would take at least that much time for me to see things start to shift in my life. I candidly share that it was definitely not in my budget at the time to do so when I was trying to cut back on work, but I just trusted my instinct that it was something I needed to do. Sure enough, almost immediately after making the decision a new project presented itself and that financial worry was resolved.

During this period of time that we worked together, my life could not have been crazier. I was juggling 5-10 clients and different projects while simultaneously throwing myself headfirst into all things in the wellness/healing world. My traditional vacations had already begun to be replaced by wellness retreats. I had a 6 day a week cathartic fitness class habit, weekly rolfing appointments, was doing Somatic or Network Spinal Therapy, and failing at my attempts to meditate; all on top of our coaching sessions. I was also in the middle of a renovation project, and there were days that I would hole up in a closet or bedroom while the contractors were working because that was the only time I could squeeze in my sessions with Hope. There were even more days, when felt like I literally cried all day long through all of these holistic and self-work practices that had been implemented into my life.

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Fast forward to when Hope and I wrapped up the 6 months and I actually realized I was truly a different person. I had gotten rid of the client that was draining me (even though they represented a huge chunk of my income) and without any effort, new work and projects appeared to replace it. Meditation with crystals was now second nature, I was less tired which gave me more control over my adrenal fatigue, and I was about to embark on my first Crystal Healing certification!

I share this story, because I really credit the support of working with her (and finding a new friend and so many others along the way), for helping me to bring The Cristalline to fruition. I know firsthand how frustrating it is when you feel like there are constant setbacks in your life as you struggle to find your passion and discover your dreams; while feeling like everyone else around you is soaring at theirs. For me, Colombia has been a magical place the past couple years in helping me discover even more layers of myself, and of this work that I am so lucky to be able to share.

Our retreat is an opportunity to get away and press the reset button on your life. In this beautiful energetically charged setting, you can tune out all of the noise and focus on igniting something newfound within yourself!
So, what else is there to do but to take another leap and join us in Colombia?!

XX, Rashia

I'm so grateful for amazing clients such as Rashia, who dedicate the time and effort to make radical changes in their lives. And that she did! Rashia's work has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, Fast Company and more. It's just so exciting to see her blow up.  You can too if you really want to.

xo,

Hope


 Chillin' at my favorite little french boutique in NYC. ... Sézane L' Appartement New York

Chillin' at my favorite little french boutique in NYC. ... Sézane L' Appartement New York

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Acceptance and Skipping Judgement

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A client recently asked me how to accept others without judgement?  This has been a question I have been curious about for many years.  When I started to really dive into the practice of Engaged Buddhism, I really noticed that accepting others as is and releasing judgement is actually really difficult.  I also realized, just has the spiritual texts says,  it was my only way out of suffering.

This is a daily practice.  I do know that accepting our loved ones, or colleagues we must work with, is vital for our happiness quotient in life. Of course in many negative situations, one must leave the scenario asap, but for those non-threatening relationships, I say start with curiosity and compassion.  Ask questions. Listen deeply but when those thoughts creep in about judging, stop them dead in your tracks. 

I know that I personally have transformed negative relationships because I tried really hard to cease the judging, to let the anger go, to try to look at situations from the other perspective.  I had to look in the mirror and face facts —- see my mistakes, acknowledge them, apologize and share appreciation for the other person. This does not happen over night, but I am here to say, it works.  A little prayer does wonders too.

I am a real proponent of mindfulness practices. Meditation and living mindfully can go a long way and help alleviate our fears. This passage from Thich Nhat Hahn breaks it down…

”Most of us experience a life full of wonderful moments and difficult moments. But for many of us, even when we are most joyful, there is fear behind our joy. We fear that this moment will end, that we won’t get what we need, that we will lose what we love, or that we will not be safe. Often, our biggest fear is the knowledge that one day our bodies will cease functioning. So even when we are surrounded by all the conditions for happiness, our joy is not complete.

We may think that if we ignore our fears, they’ll go away. But if we bury worries and anxieties in our consciousness, they continue to affect us and bring us more sorrow. We are very afraid of being powerless. But we have the power to look deeply at our fears, and then fear cannot control us. We can transform our fear. Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”

If we can remind ourselves of the beauty of now, no matter what, I think it can uplift us.  Let’s bust down the blocks of fear that is holding us back. Recognize when judging others is actually making you miserable. Combat the social media envy! :) You can press pause. Now is the time to take that leap of faith.

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Release Stress. Open Up.

I was talking to an old friend recently who shared with me some deep, private experiences in her life that had detrimental effects on her life.  I’ve known her forever and we are close, so why did it take her years to confide in me?  She shared that she suffered in silence for so long. I am confident in our friendship level but it still made me sad to know that she was suffering so deeply with me being right there. She chose to keep it to herself and never felt comfortable to share her truth with any of her friends, not just me.    I’m not taking it personal but I still feel sadness.

After spending time with another old friend, I could sense something was off. Since she is a busy Mom, my intuition was telling me she just needs some girl time to talk about life in general. Spending time with friends release stress.  Communication is vital for our happiness quotient and our health.  After having some strange physical ailments, where no doctors can find solutions or the culprit, the doctor suggested some activities to promote happiness. I was impressed. Cool doctor. Cultivating happiness is the way….in any form or function.

 Illustration by  Ana Leovy

Illustration by Ana Leovy

I had a client that was having a rough time with her love life.  Dating was not going too well. After diving deep, what unfolded was a negative #MeToo experience with a man in her past. She had never talked about it. We discovered she actually blocked it out of her mind.  In fact my intuition was, it was blocking her from authentically connecting and nurturing true love.  In order to bust down her blocks, she needed to get real with her truth and let it go. Share. Open Up. Release.  This is what can heal us all.  In order for me to meet my husband, I had to let go of a lot of negative men drama of the past. It’s not easy, but it’s very possible.

If you are struggling right now with something, here is a gently reminder to find a loved one, or a professional to share your truth with.  I am not a therapist, so in my coaching work we do not discuss all the details of the past. What I actually do is intuitively pinpoint the blocks in life, the origins of the issue, and develop ways to release the pain, to shift your mindset to more positive perspectives. How? I incorporate life-changing coaching techniques, mindfulness practices and lots of fun, thought-provoking exercises plus hold you accountable to take action on your dreams.  If you are interested in learning more about working with me, email info@hopemcgrath.com for a complimentary Spark Session.

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Pushing Through Resistance

Lately I’ve been more conscious of where resistance shows up in my life.  I am one with lots of creative ideas, but there are some big ones that have not come to fruition. What has been in my way? Me. My business coach talks often about ‘mastering your resistance.’ When you desire to make moves or achieve goals, becoming aware of what gets in your way is vital. Guess what? If we don’t act on our unique ideas, as nature would have it, eventually they fade away. You could even believe those great ideas flow to other people. Did you ever see someone launching your invention, product, business idea, whatever and wonder—-damn, I thought of that!

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Definition: Resistance: the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.

We all have resistance within us. There are times when resistance is our friend.  We know we do not want to take action on something that may be good for us, but we do it anyway.  Yeah! We pushed through.  Other times resistance paralyzes us and we stay in status quo. What is preventing us from forward movement when we know in our hearts we need to take that leap of faith?  “Faith is to believe what you do not see. The reward of this faith is to see what you believe,” from the book “Dream a Little Bigger.

I noticed I had total resistance is engaging in public relations efforts for my personal brand. For years, I haven’t written myself one single press release. Keep in mind, I’ve been a publicist for fashion designers and artists for more than 15 years. I have always felt uncomfortable pitching myself…it feels strange to me, yet I can pitch designers and artists with ease.  In fact, last month I supported my husband’s latest art exhibition by handling press.  I was trying to hire a PR agency but I couldn’t find the right fit, so I hired a PR consultant friend and we knocked it out ourselves. I had been telling everyone that my goal was to land an article in The New York Times for this show. When I was interviewing publicists, this is what I mentioned as my first and foremost goal. I have tried for about 5 years to land such an article and there was always a dead end. But guess what? I finally did it. I manifested it into existence. Yes, my husband’s exhibition received a major New York Times feature and it was thrilling. In fact that writer just interviewed him again for another article. When I was talking with my friend Amanda Berlin, who is a masterful publicity coach, she was questioned me. “Wait, you can land a major New York Times placement, but you can’t do any PR for yourself?”  A-ha moment! Something needs to shift in 2018 right?

                              Time to get to work...with a fresh, new perspective

                             Time to get to work...with a fresh, new perspective

One of my star coaching clients had an opportunity to write an article for an exclusive website in her industry. The procrastination was in full force. She started one article, couldn’t decide how to end it, then started another story, then another. A spiral of confusion about which direction to go took over. What is the best way to tell the story? How should it end? A project that could’ve taken a week turned into over a month. The resistance seemed to come in the form of perfection and lack of clarity.  We noticed the setback, took action and were so excited when she submitted her piece.  It takes self-awareness to ask for help and stay persistent towards your goals.

 What are you resisting and how can you push through?


New Year,  New You Special Offer

For the New Year I am offering a special New Year's Sale on my Radiant Clarity 4-month Private Premium Coaching Program.  I work with mostly single women who feel stuck in their lives and they are tired of the status quo and desire some radical transformation in love and work. This offer is a fantastic intro to private coaching with me. Lightbulbs go off. Excitement for change is in the air. Clarity will unfold and that's when you get support to take your next big actionable steps for a fresh new way of being.  It is just the beginning to carve out time to begin loving yourself all over again, learning mindfulness techniques to greatly improve your life and pushing through darkness to get through the light. This exclusive New Year, New You sale is on. Reach out here  or email info@hopemcgrath.com to set up your complimentary Spark Session to see if we are a good fit.

I'd love to hear your comments and feel free to share with friends.

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Find Clarity for a Balanced Life in 2018

I hope you all are having a very Happy Holiday season! I have been enjoying family  time, holiday parties and carving time for me to gain clarity for an elevated 2018.  I wanted to touch upon how setting intentions for the New Year can be therapeutic and offer lots of clarity if you feel like carving out some time for a bit of reflection. This following exercise offers you the opportunity to do so. No, this is not about New Year’s Resolutions, just clarity. This will take a bit time, but now is the time.

Clarity for a Balanced Life in 2018:

Step 1:  

Write the following five categories on a separate page for each category. 

1) Family & Love

2) Spirituality

3) Health & Wellness

4) Finances

5) Career

Free flow and write as many intentions or goals you have in each category. Keep your mind open. What do you want to see evolve in the future, up to three years from now…2018, 2019, 2020? Think big. Not everything has to be super realistic for this present moment.

Step 2:

Look at each category pick one goal that supersedes anything else.  Write this one goal down on a separate sheet of paper.  Consider the original lists you made to be 3 year plans…not one year, because those lists are too damn long to accomplish everything in one year. ( I did this same exercise and had to scratch and postpone a lot of things.)

1) Family & Love  - list one goal

2) Spirituality -  list one goal

3) Health & Wellness -  list one goal

4) Finances -  list one goal

5) Career -  list one goal

This above list is your top 5 active objectives for 2018. (You may need to push some of your other goals to future years. You can create a 3-year plan later if you are daring.  )
 

Step 3: 

Now for each distinct category, you will draft:

a) 3 year goal

b) 1 year goal

c) Monthly objectives - list about 3 monthly objectives.

Revisit this list monthly and adjust your objectives accordingly.

Here is one of my examples...

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Give yourself the gift of time to focus on this. It takes time, but it’s insights are worth it. Let me know how it goes. This exercise I found years ago, so I’m afraid I forgot the origin in order to give credit. I made a few adjustments and you can do the same for yourself. Consider this a guideline for you to just get a bit of clarity for your big visions for your life. You may be surprised when you look back how much you accomplish and also may laugh at that idea that will later seem ridiculous or impossible. Jot it all down.

Put some of your favorite music on and have fun with it. I’m jamming to my girl Erykah Badu as I write and discovering some new artists via Spotify which is always fun for me. I was listening to this artist that sounded just like Prince on a track. I was shocked at the uncanny sound….who is this? I looked and it was a song released earlier this year entitled "Drip" by the young artist Luke James. I guess I’m in perpetual mourning for The Purple One. :) Oh Sampha is playing now. Love him so much. Check out this emerging artist in an Interview Magazine here.

Enough of my musical digression, I hope you all had wonderful holiday celebrations and live it up on New Year’s. Catch you on the rebound. It's a New Year, and a time to celebrate the New You.

I work with mostly single women who feel stuck in their lives and are tired of the status quo....it's getting to a boiling point that something has to change.  They desire authentic love to fill their life and a on the cusp of major career transitions.  Together we create miracles happen and life opens up in a fresh new way. If you know in your heart you are ready to take the leap of faith to make big moves and desire support to do so, reach out to inquire about the complimentary Spark Sessions available.

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  I was moved by the beauty of Bergdorf Goodman's holiday windows in NYC . This display of art is inspired by the New York Philharmonic.

I was moved by the beauty of Bergdorf Goodman's holiday windows in NYC . This display of art is inspired by the New York Philharmonic.

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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.

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


Design Your Life woth Hope_Bromello_logo.png

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

Hope_Bromello_logo.png


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 women in my life.  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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