I’m still sort of in shock from the experience. Three weeks ago my mind was blown. The story begins back in January when I received an invitation to attend the LimeLight by Alcone (natural skincare and professional makeup) annual conference. Without much more information other than it was going to be held in August in Austin, I registered. Last year I had attended the conference and knew that the swag bag alone would be worth the registration fee! I really didn’t think about it again until March when it was announced that Martha Beck was going to give the keynote talk. That was when I knew I had to be there.
Martha Beck and I go back. I saw her on Oprah; it might have been her original appearance, I think it was 2006. Most recently two years ago when I was searching for a suggestion to guide me in the niche market I should focus on in my coaching business, Amanda, a trusted Wellpreneur suggested a read Martha’s book, Finding Your Own North Star. It was a life changer for me.
So I packed my bags and headed to Austin. In fact I specifically packed one of my favorite t-shirts that I thought Martha might get a chuckle from – my “Goal Digger” t-shirt. You see, my idea was to bring the copy of my dog-eared notes scribbled on every page paperback book and wait in line for Martha to sign it.
The morning of the kick off to the event, after a 6 AM Zumba workout (check out the @InnerBeautyConsultant FaceBook page for some seriously funny photos and a video of the workout), showered and changed and I raced downstairs. If you’ve ever been to a concert or event with me, you know I’m all about getting in early to secure a front row center seat! I was about 4th in line when they opened the door and I found my way as close to the front as possible, saving a seat beside me in anticipation of running into someone who would be happy to sit so close.
There was a great opening ceremony with the founders of LimeLight by Alcone and then Martha Beck took the stage. She began her talk about “Abundance Mentality” telling stories and her childhood growing up in a family of eight children. Martha then went on to describe a harrowing experience escaping a fire that had engulfed her apartment building when she was pregnant. She shared the details of finding out she was carrying a child with Downs Syndrome and decision to keep the baby, her son Adam.
Throughout her talk I kept thinking how much I could relate to what she was saying - not the details, but her response to the circumstances she was presented. More than a few times Martha used the phase wildly improbable goals.
In the last portion of the keynote she shared what she called the magic in her life that she attributes to coming from a place of peace. She talked about knowing a place of peace inside yourself where you find abundance, and not just in money, but in everything - love, friendship, happiness, everything comes to you in that state of peace. I was on the edge of my seat as she described her experience. I recognized that place of peace in myself too.
Next thing you know, she requested a volunteer - my hand shot straight up - in fact so quickly that Martha joked out loud, “Your hand went right up, come on up here!” And so, with my Goal Digger t-shirt on, a dream I didn’t even know I had, came true. I had the opportunity to share the stage with Martha Beck! I looked her straight in the eyes when she asked me if I could locate a place of peace inside and I told her with complete confidence, yes I did. Together we demonstrated to an audience of 1800 people how magic comes into your life when you practice peace.
In addition to all the other parts of this story with Martha Beck, I have to add this one other side story - less than a week before I had actually been a member of a similar size audience in Miami, Florida. I was attending a talk by Prem Rawat, the teacher who showed me the place of peace inside myself, over 40 years ago! He calls it knowledge of the self.
I love sharing this story because each time I recall the steps I took that brought me to that stage and I know that anyone can duplicate this process. Anyone wishing for something to manifest in their lives can take these simple steps:
How I Answered the Question "Your Calling: Is a Career in Healthcare Right for You?" CIA Blog post by Sarah D. Lisovich
While attending a Yoga Nidra class I was introduced to the concept of sankalpa. A sankalpa is a heartfelt resolve, a vow or solemn promise to yourself to perform or achieve an objective sincerely with all good intentions.
It originates from the heart and manifests as determination in the mind that precedes actions. It is considered to be superior to thought because it actually moves the body to perform in order to achieve a pre-set goal. It means - I will be decisive, I will be whole-hearted. It is an alive motivating force, a commitment we make to support our highest truth. This deeply rooted powerful determination is the combination of san; a concept or idea formed in the heart and kalpa; a way of proceeding.
Take time to determine your personal sankalpa. The result will be a positive statement in the present tense; a short, simple phase that you repeat daily like an affirmation or intention.
Every phase of the Moon creates a certain energy that affects the Earth and everything on the planet, including us. Like the moon, we too move through phases. Yep, we’re a part of nature and have cycles too.
By creating a Vision Board during the waxing phase of the moon (between the new and full moon), you can use it’s power to gather information, grow, and learn. The most powerful vision boards are created when you access deep listening, intuition and curiosity.
You can cultivate the attitude by beginning your vision board session with a few moments of meditation or prayer. A position of humility is important to establish in order to receive unedited, clear messages that impose no limits on the possibility for your future and no judgments of your past.
Using your Vision Board as inspiration, around the time of the full moon is a great opportunity to create your intentions. Intentions align your focus and express a desire to realize your vision. To create your intentions, focus on the images, or words on your board and ask questions like - what does this mean to me? – and - what do you want me to know?
After you’ve established your intentions, take time to set up the specific actions to take by asking - how can I best achieve this? – and - what steps do I need to take to realize this vision? Taking time to set up specific steps required to fulfill your intentions is essential to realizing your vision.
Once you’ve determined your intentions and established a daily practice of focusing on the actions you need to take, around the time of the waning moon is a good time to check in to see what steps you may need to tweak. Reviewing your intentions and actions, ask yourself - what do I need to let go of? - and - what is in the way of me realizing my vision? Be open to the messages you receive at this time and realign your actions.
As the dark moon phase approaches, rest and find comfort in your inner wisdom. Notice where your attention is placed and let go of those actions that do not serve your intentions.
This is a time to count your blessings, be thankful, review what you have learned about yourself. Cultivate gratitude knowing that the time of the new moon is approaching and you will once again have the opportunity to begin again.
Regardless of the specific moon phase, these seven steps are essential to fully realize the potential of your vision board. Don’t hesitate to jump in and start creating your future today. You can always align your actions around your vision board with the moon phases next month!
Seven steps to fully realize the power of creating a vision board
New Moon – New beginnings, fresh starts, optimism, hope and faith. This is a great time to gather images and words to create your board.
Waxing Moon – Building, accomplishments, creativity, strength, growth and learning, positive transformation.
Full Moon – Abundance, harvest, wish-fulfillment, unveiling, manifesting desires, sexuality, achieving all dreams, protection. Wonderful time to reveal and share your board with others.
Waning Moon – Letting go, clearing away, cleansing, releasing, shedding old patterns, undoing bindings, opening up problem-knots, making space.
Dark Moon – Rest, Peace, deep wisdom, divination, connect with your inner self, let things die away completely.
The Farmer’s Almanac Moon Phase Calendar
Have you ever set a goal but didn’t follow through on it? Have you been stuck because you just don’t know where to begin, or had a deadline but haven’t been motivated to do the work until the last minute? Did you feel the quality of your work suffered or unhappy with the results?
I’ve had experiences like these. It can be especially frustrating when you truly do want to make a change or take action, but for some reason you just can’t seem to put yourself into it… that’s where an accountability partner can be a huge help.
In 2014 I was introduced to the concept while taking a 20-week “Launch Your Dream Book” writing course. Writing a book is a huge undertaking and requires a lot of discipline and determination. One of the very first assignments they gave us was to find an accountability partner to support us through the process and urge us to completion.
They suggested we connect with someone through the book course group Facebook page. I considered a few people, even had a brief three week exchange with a gal who was also in the course but we had a conflict in schedules and it just wasn't working. I knew I wanted to choose someone that I could be brutally honest with, someone who I could learn from and wouldn't let me off the hook too easily. I also thought it would be great to have a personal connection with the person, not just some random stranger online who was taking the assignment because we had been asked to try it out.
I gave some thought to asking a friend or one of my LinkedIn professional contacts but a few night later I was invited to a dinner party and sat next to an adorable woman who was like a bright shining light. I couldn’t help it; I was immediately attracted to Melissa Schnapps’ positive nature and outlook. It wasn’t surprising when she told me she has been a life coach for years and was now interested in expanding the scope of her business by becoming a motivational speaker. She had a terrific presence and sense of self confidence.
We made a date to meet at her home to continue our conversation. I was keenly interested in having her take me on as a client so I could experience using a professional coach as my accountability partner. The day of the appointment, Melissa welcomed me with open arms as if we had been friends forever – she even made me a delicious green smoothie for lunch! We discussed the accountability partner barter arrangement and immediately after returning home I emailed her a detailed description of what I was looking for and what I could offer her. One of her goals was expanding her platform as a speaker, something I had extensive experience doing. It was a perfect fit, and she jumped at the opportunity to set up a recurring date to exchange our talents and keep each other on task.
At that point I was under the impression that I had months to write the book, which was a relief to me because in addition to the holidays and end of year celebrations, I was also renovating and moving into my new office space. Then the leaders of the book course offered a challenge – if I could write and turn in the first draft of the book (25,000 words/50 pages), before midnight on December 31st, I would get a “special reward”. I was immediately up for the challenge – and I had an accountability partner. I felt like I could do anything I put my mind to!
In just two weeks, with the help of weekly 1 hour Skype appointments to keep me on track and motivated, I completed the assignment. It was the most invigorating end of the year I had ever experienced. We both appreciated the results of our weekly calls that they continue to this day!
The structure of each weekly accountability date with Melissa was predetermined. At the beginning of each call we would quickly decide who would start and we’d simply focus for 30 minutes on what was important for that person at this time. For more information, here’s a link to Melissa’s video on Goal Setting.
Depending on what area you are focusing on, you may want to find someone with specific skills to address or provide resources for you to consider, such as a business or coach, a nutritionist or a personal trainer. The most important thing is the chemistry between you, the feeling of support and encouragement and inspiration to fulfill the goals you set out to do.
One more idea - as I was completing this post, I happen to listen to James Altucher's podcast interview with Adam Grant, the author of the book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. Adam mentioned that for the greatest success to propel him forward, he would rather work with someone who challenged him and questioned his intentions, instead of someone that was purely supportive and agreeable to his every idea. This got me thinking... in addition to support, working with an accountability partner that asks tough questions or makes bold statements that require thoughtful responses would also be key to truly making progress on goals.
Especially if you are seeking to make changes and don't know where to begin, you will find the most success choosing to work with someone who is willing to give you specific feedback and suggestions. If you are really disciplined and simply need someone to use as a sounding board to hear your own thoughts and to keep you on task, establish this expectation at the outset will be helpful. It's important that both parties are clear and understand their roles in the arrangement.
If you are determined to reach a goal, I highly suggest the assistance of an accountability partner!
Melissa Schnapp suggests that you wrap up each accountability session by answering the following questions:
1. What did you get most out of in the conversation?
2. What specific goals are you making a commitment to accomplish?
3. What date is your deadline for each goal?
Interested in reaching your goals for your life and health? Do you want to have more energy, feel better in your body, learn to reduce your stress and improve your relationships at home and work?
It’s easy to state an intention, wish for things to be different and even take actions like creating a vision board to inspire you, but if you want to really make sustainable changes you need to start with these specific steps.
#1 Put yourself first.
It may sound counter-intuitive but putting yourself first is THE first thing you need to do to make any big changes in your life. Putting yourself first means getting in touch and listening carefully to your inner voice. Developing a relationship with your self requires creating space in your life and this takes time. This often involves greater self-care by doing things such as soaking in a tub of Epsom salts infused with lavender, or having a cup of tea, taking a walk or listening to music early in the morning before anyone else gets up, Journaling or meditating are also two daily practices you can begin to nurture the relationship with your inner voice and put yourself first.
#2 Forgive yourself.
One of the keys to initiating sustainable changes is forgive yourself. It is through truly embracing and loving ourselves that we can take the next step towards a brighter future with confidence and clarity. When we are in the state of forgiveness we take better care of ourselves and more likely to surround ourselves with others who support and love us too. You need not forget what you are forgiving yourself for, but you will be less likely to repeat the action, thought or comment if you forgive yourself. Oh, and by the way, it only takes a moment to do so and no biggie if you need to do it multiple times throughout the day. Exercising the forgiveness muscle makes it easier to forgive others too...
#3 Change your mindset, change your life.
If you are blaming others for your situation or feeling victimized you need to change your mindset and get in touch with your inner powerhouse. When you move away from the language of victim and leave behind blame, you take responsibility for what you can do. This frees you up take action with less hesitation and achieve greater long lasting results.
Changes are not made in the future, they are made in the here and now. You may need to use the statement “for today” to free up your fears about an uncertain future, which often keeps us locked into a habit or pattern from the past. The choices you make today will make a difference for the direction of your future.
#4 Slow down and experience the present moment.
Another way of making big changes stick is giving yourself the gift of time. Slow down, take an additional breath before you respond or take action. For instance, I’ve often experienced the power of going the speed limit, not allowing myself to be pushed to drive faster because of someone behind me or racing beside me. Not rushing through my day makes me feel more powerful, less harried and out of control.
The present moment is really the only time we have! Our lives are often filled with thoughts about the past and worries about the future. By allowing yourself the gift or returning to the present moment, with practice, we make wiser decisions and enjoy the precious moments more deeply.
#5 Enlist the help of others.
We all know that in addition to the power of accountability, assistance from others can add greatly to the success of any goal we set. We are social beings and can learn so much from one another in the spirit of love and support.
I’ve designed a Group Program for those who want to take action on their goals, receive amazing support, and be a part of a community of like-minded people. You will have the chance to meet in monthly group sessions and be supported with recommendations, books, other supplemental materials. You can begin the Program at any time. Once a month we cover a different way to practice mindfulness with practical suggestions you can immediately implement.
Check out the Life-Changing Group Program schedule and more details by clicking on this link to learn more and to register.
For years as a yoga instructor, childbirth educator and spiritual midwife attending home and hospital births I worked with women to help ease the transition into motherhood. We focused on the strength of their bodies, the sense of power by connecting with breath and nutrition for their overall health and wellbeing. We worked to establish balance in their lives by creating a healthy home, nurturing relationships and a connection to spirit. I felt blessed to be able to do this beautiful meaningful work for years.
As an integrative health coach in a sense I’m returning to the practice of midwifery. I call myself a Life Midwife as the scope of my work spans the entire experience of being a female. From young woman navigating the "firsts" in her life to grandmothers who have seen the complete life cycle from start to finish. My work with young women involves introducing them to rituals and practices they can incorporate to help them navigate the choices they will encounter around relationships, fertility, food, fun and future. For women in the childbearing years most of my work centers around encouraging them to maintain their sense of self as they create a healthy lifestyle and comfortable home. For women with adult children, I help them take time to reconnect with their inner best friend and re-establish a sense of purpose and direction.
Many women work tirelessly to build a home base for their families and yet somehow lose themselves along the way. Their identity is entirely wrapped around providing for their children and they forget to maintain a connection with themselves in the process.
The caregiver role is rewarding and purposeful, but it need not be at the cost of one’s self to provide for others. In fact, if you are not taking care of yourself and don’t have the resolve to maintain this connection, you are more susceptible to illness and eventually to becoming a burden to others!
For women at all ages and any stage, taking care of oneself through movement, breath, proper nourishment, connection to spirit and quality relationships is the key to a happy healthy home.
Journaling since 1975, I love to write. Pen to paper is an invitation for my inner voice to show up.