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Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

Happy New Moon Monday all!  I met John in Northern New York where I worked and studied for my M.Ed. degree from St. Lawrence University, a beautiful country setting along the US-Canadian border.  Knowing and witnessing John evolve and grow over the years has been such an inspiration to me! I had the pleasure and privilege to teach Reiki to John and his mom Diane, as well as support John in becoming a Reiki Master Teacher.  He is a gifted healer and wise beyond his years, if you are in the SF Bay Area and require a transformative healing session, I highly recommend John, his hands are angelic, intuitive and compassionate beyond words.  A hearty thank you John for an inspired blog post!

 

I was recently asked: What inspires you?

I have to admit…it’s a somewhat difficult question… but not for the reasons one might think. It’s not that I have difficulty finding inspiration; in fact it’s much the opposite! There are SO MANY sources of inspiration for me I don’t even know where to begin! The world is filled with so much beauty, so much love, and so much joy, if we just open our eyes and hearts to see and feel it!

Personally, one of the biggest inspirations for me is when I see other people living their truths, and creating the lives they want to live! I’ve had, and have SO many amazing people in my life! My mother Diane was one of the biggest inspirations in my life! Although she passed on over a decade ago, her memory continues to inspire me. She was a loving, kind person, who would not speak down to anyone, but would speak out and stand against injustice, with such a HUGE heart, that she would always give to those in need, if she could, while keeping just enough for herself! As a result, I have never felt *poor* no matter how few material comforts I have.

mom DianeMy mom Diane on her wedding day.

I’ve been inspired by many others, including my friend Relani, who helped me to see myself as whole and beautiful as I am at a young age, helping me be comfortable with myself as a queer and gender fluid person. Through Relani I was introduced to Lórien!  Seeing all the beauty Lórien has put out into the world through her art, her organizations that give back to communities in need, and the healing work she does has propelled me down a path of not only self-healing, but the healing of others and the planet! From her I learned Reiki, and was introduced to MANY other amazing spiritual and inspirational people! Today I am working as a Massage Therapist helping people ground and heal their bodies with manual manipulation and Reiki, as well as teaching about plant-based nutrition, juice fasting/cleansing and detox, as well as working for human rights issues, and protections for animals and the planet!

reiki hands image

This brings me to something else that inspires me: Gratitude. Whenever I see people giving thanks for the things they have, especially those who have little, inspires me to feel grateful for all I have, and reminds me that I’m here for a purpose, which is to share my Light and Uniqueness with the world, and add to the collective healing of our planet and all its inhabitants! Having and expressing gratitude every day brings more abundance and beauty into my life, as the focus gets shifted from *not having* to being truly *rich*! Even though I don’t focus on material wealth, I’ve found the more I express gratitude, the more I receive the things I need and desire. The law of attraction is very powerful and can give us everything we need, if we are grateful, and open to receive!

reiki

There are so many other people in my life who inspire me on a daily basis: I could go on and on! I recently was introduced to an amazing spiritual man who has become my mentor, helping me with self-care (something we healers often forget about in our passion to help others). Because of his support I am now actualizing my dreams and moving forward at lightning speed after a few years of struggle, and am now creating new and amazing things! He continues to inspire me to challenge myself, and work through the difficult times with great joy in my heart, and with Love!

DanawithMissLoveDana and John

I’m inspired by my friend Dana Morrigan who has chosen to live her life authentically, and also hosts karaoke in the SF Bay Area, which is therapy for me. When I’m feeling stressed or down, there is little that can inspire me to great joy more than belting out one of my favorite tunes, while being surrounded by other folks who are also expressing their loving authentic selves in silly, serious, and playful ways!

karaokeJohn singing at Dana’s karaoke event

JezebelDelilahLove(Photo credits to  Nye Lyn Tho http://nyelyntho.com/ )

Although I have not formally met her in person, I feel incredibly inspired by my Facebook friend, Jezebel Delilah X (Vanessa Rochelle Lewis) who shares so much Love, insight, and truth, with such a degree of vulnerability and authenticity, she makes me want to do the same. I learn so much reading all of her insightful posts. She truly is a real life Magickal Mermaid Goddess, sending out waves of Love on a daily basis, showing me what true beauty really is!

 

NatureGorgeous Nature

I’m also greatly inspired by Nature having grown up in rural upstate New York. I love getting out and exploring the forest, going to healing hot springs, and immersing my body in the waters of Life; whether it be in a lake, river, or the beautiful ocean, for which as a Pisces, I am grateful to be living within sight of, from my bedroom window, just a short trip away! I always feel the most whole when I am surrounded by trees and plants away from the din of the city. It’s what balances and grounds me, helping to reset while living in a heavily populated city can be a bit chaotic at times, but still full of Love and amazing beings!  Going on a hike, alone or with friends is truly a walking meditation, as I connect deeply with all the wild plants and animals around me, and realize that I too am a part of nature, not separate, but one with!

healthynutrMy home fridge filled with all of my fave fresh, organic fruits and veggies

Seeing other people make positive changes in their lives also inspires me! I’ve had so many friends recently decide that it was time to no longer just sit and wait for things to happen, but actually get up and put the effort into making their goals and dreams come to fruition! Sometimes it’s something very small, for example, going to bed at a certain time to be well-rested, or practicing daily meditation, even if it’s just for five or ten minutes a day, or once a week with in a group setting. The point is, these people have started making changes, and working towards their goals, even if with baby steps. Seeing this, and the eventual fruition of some of these goals is extremely inspirational to me, which proves that I too, can achieve my goals, even if I need to start small and take things moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day and so on! There is so much Light and Beauty, and Abundance in the world for everybody! We just must take that baby step, and start healing ourselves, and manifesting our realities. I was touched and honored last week when Lórien asked me to be a part of this blog, having been inspired by something I had written. Even just doing this guest blog has inspired me to create my own blog on healing, healthy food, spirituality, joy, and creating the Lives we want, while being authentic and loving to ourselves!

With so many sources of Love, Creativity and Joy everywhere, how can I not be inspired?

John Bio pic 1

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John Graves has been practicing massage therapy, Reiki and energy work for more than ten years, having received his training at Sonoma College (formerly Western Institute of Science and Health) in San Francisco, under the tutelage of many wonderful teachers with varied backgrounds in many massage modalities, acupuncture, chiropractics, yoga, eastern thought, and natural healing!

John has received over 735 hours of training in advanced massage therapy, including Swedish massage, deep tissue, reflexology, energy work, pregnancy massage, pre- and post-event sports massage, and triggerpoint therapy. He is initiated and ordained into the Essene Way, studying Essene Mystical healing techniques and meditation and continues to study other styles of massage and healing work, including nutrition, herbal medicine, meditation and yoga, and looks forward to branching out into many different healing modalities.

***CAMTC Certified as an Advanced Massage Therapist in the State of California, ABMP Insured

Massage and Reiki With John: http://johngraves.massagetherapy.com

His blog can be found at: https://peacelovefoodbliss.wordpress.com/

 

Resources:

Connect With Dana Morrigan: https://danamorrigan.wordpress.com/

Swim With Jezebel Delilah X at: http://www.jezebeldelilahx.com

 

 

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Julie and I met whilst we were both living at the same place, during a magical time in Kauai.  It was just after the new year and we were both in our own transition time, integrating the intense wisdom and healing powers of the islands and our own inner processes.  She brought with her a strong sense of adventure. She had just left the big island of Hawaii where she had been exploring the creations of Pele, the volcanoes, which was very exciting to talk about! We shared in conversation and I learned that we had common interests and passions in travel, wild nature, astrology, the Bay Area and yoga!  I enjoyed our conversations and sharing time “on the mat” at Metamorphose Yoga studio and at one of my favorite places on planet Earth, the beach! Julie is a tremendous human resource for entrepreneurs and I am thrilled to share her inspirations with you here.  Thank you Julie!

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  1. I get to weave my passions into my work. I’m nature obsessed. I want everyone to slow down. I am passionate about people nourishing themselves first (please put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others!). This is reflected in the way I run my business and the way I teach and coach others how to run theirs. It feels amazing to do it my way.
  2. I get to create my own schedule. I don’t work before 10AM! Mornings are for self-care. I clump all my clients together so that I have large chunks of time to focus on other kinds of work or simply to get outside and have fun. I can often schedule my work around my vacations instead of scheduling my vacations around my work.
  3. I get to choose my strategy and tactics. I don’t have to do things I don’t like. I do work hard, but it’s toward a vision that I have created that feels authentically me and aligned with my purpose. I get to be myself in my business, not put on airs or shows, nor use weird or sleazy marketing tactics. I know that being me is the best way to attract the kinds of clients I actually want to work with, not trying to be someone or something else.IMG_0042
  4. I get to sit on my comfy couch and look out over the beautiful bay and the redwoods while I’m on the phone with my clients. And I get to wear whatever I want while I’m doing this. And cook healthy food for myself at lunchtime.
  5. I get to work with ridiculously inspiring people. My clients are doing such beautiful work in the world, with so much integrity. They are an inspiration to me and call me to task too… I am constantly learning and improving my own skills so I can serve them and their visions better.Natural-Business-Cycle-2 Master
  6. My business evolves as I evolve. I see business as cyclical, not linear. We travel around the wheel many times, and we learn and grow with each pass. As I change, my business changes with me… my mission is not set in stone, I get to take whatever classes I want and welcome their influence on the way I work, the messages I send, and the impact I have. My business is so different from when it started, and I know it will continue to evolve as I do.
  7. It’s great fodder for personal growth. I get to be at my edge, constantly. Truthfully, this is not always fun. Things are sometimes up and down in the life of a business, and it requires a lot of trust, courage and self-compassion. I’m working on it with all my clients, and working on it in myself too. There is a continual balancing act in my life and business, and I am regularly faced with my fears, insecurities, and areas where I need to grow.
  8. I can help friends out in the middle of the day. That was pretty hard when I had a “job job.” But now, if a friend needs a ride to the airport at 2PM, there’s a chance I can actually do it! More broadly speaking, I have more time to support and connect with the people I care about and love the most. Yay!Replenish Retreat Promo 1c
  9. I get to create my dream retreat and then invite cool women to it. If I want to mix business strategy with hot tubs and seasonal foods and chocolate and red wine in the redwoods in winter, then that’s what I get to do! Wanna come??
  10. I get to live out my purpose… Helping other people create all of this for themselves! I love putting structure around a vision, in fact, I pretty much do it in my sleep. It’s such a deep pleasure to be able to support others using the gifts that come so naturally to me. I feel most on purpose when I am supporting others to be on their purpose, and making the money they need to support their lives, their families, and their dreams.

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Julie Wolk helps mission-driven entrepreneurs (teachers, consultants, coaches, healers, and other service professionals) who are excellent at their craft, really rock the business side, so they can thrive. She developed the Natural Business Cycle, a unique and overwhelm-reducing business development model based on the natural world. She co-founded and for many years co-directed a thriving nonprofit organization (Wilderness Torah) and worked for 10 years prior to that in environmental advocacy and public relations. Julie is a certified professional coach and spends a lot of time wandering in the East Bay hills.

Learn more at: http://www.juliewolkcoaching.com/

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In January 2013 I had the pleasure of entering Metamorphose Yoga Studio in Kilauea, Kauai, where I was warmly greeted by Carol and Astell.  That day I committed to a month of yoga for my health and well-being and after signing up, I heard these words: “Your body is already thanking you.”  My month-long daily practice with Carol and her dedicated, gifted team of healers/yoga instructors fulfilled that promise in so many ways.  Situated in paradise, her yoga studio offers a feeling of coming home—the sacred atmosphere and warmth starts with a friendly greeting from her dog Oscar.  I am so honored that Carol is sharing her wisdom and soul with us through her Top 10 list here.  Thank you Carol for all you do and are for us!

Carol and mommaAstell and Carol at Metamorphose Yoga, Kilauea, Kauai

1) The love and support of my community

I’ve been teaching yoga on the North Shore of Kauai for ten years. In this decade I’ve had the honor of sharing many life experiences with my students – birth, death, marriage, divorce, health and illness. Through it all, I’ve witnessed the power we gain through yoga. It helps us breathe, move, and face this journey we take part in individually and collectively. It is deeply touching and inspiring to be involved with so many amazing people on their path of growth. The connection we have created at the studio through the practice of yoga has carried me personally through challenging times. It has become my main source of inspiration. And I get to work with my mom, Astell every day!

2) Watching my students transform with yoga

Yoga is incredible. It can be so gentle and subtle, yet powerfully dynamic. I love experiencing how yoga serves people at all stages of life. We have had classes with babies, teens, adults, seniors, disabled students, dogs, chickens, and more all in one room. I never know what to expect. I’m always blown away by how beautifully we can all practice together. Most importantly, I love witnessing how yoga helps us develop self-acceptance and Santosha (contentment) for whatever is unfolding in our lives.

3) Creating a sanctuary for us all

My intention in opening the studio was to provide a space that feels safe & nurturing for our students and visitors. We offer many styles of yoga – Flow, Vinyasa, Therapeutic, Restorative, Gentle, Teen & Kids Yoga. No matter what level of practice you are at, you can enjoy a class with the company of others. It is so special having a place where we can all let down our guard, open our hearts, laugh, cry and feel whatever we are going through in life and our bodies. It’s magic.

4) The motivation to learn and grow

With teaching and running the studio all week long, it is so important for me to stay in my center. I can only teach what I practice and experience, so I am obligated to continually take refuge in my yoga, meditation & pranayama practices daily. Because my job is to be there for others, I know I must devote time each day to be present with myself and my life. It’s what makes everything flow better and easier. I also have to keep expanding in my knowledge of the body, on how yoga can be used as therapy for injury, and how this path of yoga can serve us during all stages of life. My students are my greatest teachers!

5) My freedom as a teacher

Here’s the contradiction: owning your own business means you are never really free. The phone is always on and the doors are open every day of the week. That can be hard. The benefits, though, are immense. I have the luxury to create my life schedule and to teach in alignment with what I truly believe. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone or meet unrealistic standards. I get to do what I love every day because I love doing it. That’s pretty amazing.

6) Retail therapy in the boutique

Oh how I love yoga pants! Leggings, capris, fancy patterns or plain black, cotton, lycra, bamboo or made from plastic water bottles. I adore them all, much to my tiny closet’s dismay.
Buying for the boutique has been a new learning adventure for me. I was never much of a shopper, but thanks to my very gifted and retail-savvy husband we always find fun, comfortable and beautiful things. Our inventory flows in and out – we have apparel, jewelry, books, home & body products, yoga supplies and much more. The added perk for me is I get to buy the things I like and want to share with my community.

7) Supporting companies and projects I believe in

Because we vote with how we spend our money each day, I do my best to support companies that are making an effort to respect and give back to our environment. Local, organic, recycled, natural products are my first pick. I try to support businesses that plant trees, donate to animal wildlife rescue, give clothing to women’s shelters, reuse plastic water bottles, and do their best to create a product that is good for the planet as well as good for ourselves. Each time we purchase something, we fund a bigger picture. I take this responsibility very seriously.
I also regularly fundraise for animal welfare and natural disaster relief. Some of our causes we have supported are:

8) Sharing the philosophy of yoga

Physical yoga is just one branch of the larger tree of Yoga. I think it is important to share and explore the other facets, The Eight Limbs of Yoga. This is an ancient system of knowledge on how to carry ourselves in life. Western yoga tends to only focus on the physical postures, whereas the roots of yoga teach that the body is just the gateway to the more subtle layers of self.
The other Eight Limbs are: Yamas, moral codes; Niyamas, personal conduct; Asana, physical posture; Pranayama, breath; Pratyahara, turning inward; Dharana, focus; Dhyana, meditation; Samadhi, union with consciousness.
All of these fold beautifully into the wholeness of our practice. What we experience and explore on the mat stays with us as we venture into our daily lives.

9) Meditation & Pranayama:

I was given the gift of meditation, Dhyana, from my mom when I was a child. I can honestly say it is the most valuable tool I have ever received. Just 10 to 15 minutes of sitting quietly at the beginning of my day transforms my entire world. Pranayama, breath control, is also incredibly powerful. It helps bring us back to our most vital function,  back to the present moment, as well as recharge the mind/body connection and brain function. Dhyana and Pranayama top my list of practices for health and well-being. They can be utilized during all phases of life.

10) The challenge of running my own business

Owning a yoga studio IS hard. Period. It requires a large space and often has little financial return, so from a business perspective making ends meet can be tough. There are also very colorful and diverse personalities involved in the field of yoga, so it takes strength and wisdom to make decisions that support the overall needs of our community. When you open your doors to the public, you never know what to expect!
Regardless of these challenges, at the end of the day I am always so grateful to be sharing my love of yoga with others. Owning this studio has made me stronger, more compassionate, grateful, and more fulfilled than I have ever been. I am so blessed to be surrounded and supported by such a beautiful community!
Carol Bio
 Carolyn Dumeyer

Carol comes from a background of yoga, meditation, massage and anatomy. Her lifelong exposure to the healing arts has inspired a teaching style that embraces honest acceptance for wherever we are in the present, while expanding into our unlimited potential. She has been teaching yoga & anatomy on Kauai since 2005, is a 300+ RYT and has studied Ashtanga, Anusara, Iyengar, Vinyasa and Yin Yoga with many acclaimed teachers around the globe. Prior to dedicating her life to yoga, she had a career in massage therapy with a focus on anatomy and injury rehabilitation. Her daily inspiration comes from the beauty of nature, a loving family and her animal friends.

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Kathryn and I met in a yoga class on our adjacent mats at Metamorphose Yoga in Kauai.  In that moment, I felt a total kinship with her upon our first Ommmmm that day.  When I learned that Kathryn was a fellow artist and designer, I was lucky enough to be able to visit her Art cottage studio and even pick up some of her By the Sea Company merch!  I love my butterfly dress and aloha pom-pom organic sarong, and of course, a few organic gauze market bags.  I was so inspired by Kathryn’s vision, our conversations about being artists and her highly creative, diverse collection of handmade goods and artworks.  I also was so happy to be able to participate in the Kilauea Art Walk with her!  Kathryn, you are a beacon of beauty, creation and light!  Shine on sister, and mahalo ke akua for sharing your art and gorgeous gratitude list with us!

hello paradise - 11. I am grateful beyond words for the natural beauty that surrounds me. I create in a tiny Art cottage perched in the jungle of Kauai, Hawaii. Tropical fruit trees, a vegetable and herb garden are at hand, plus the majestic rainbow eucalyptus trees standing tall in my yard. I am immersed in nature, with birds singing, roosters crowing and trade winds gently blowing. The shapes and colors inspire me daily.

eucalyptus trees - 1

2. I’m grateful for my conscious awareness, which directs me to create messages of positivity and enlightenment, with uplifting visual cues.

art is medicine - 13. The ability to invent and create freely, without limitation. I left corporate America 10 years ago and my healing journey began. I am successful at running my own business as an Artist because I don’t listen to negativity. Everyone will have an opinion about what you are doing; what others think does not affect me. I am strong yet flexible in my beliefs.

kantha on the rocks - 1By the Sea Company kantha on the rocks

4. Imagination is the BEST nation! My imagination and creative impulses are the driving force in all I do.

artwork assortment - 1

Current projects include:

Just a Thought, daily inspirations for living, set to release in 2016.
The Hawaii Coloring Book, release date, January 2016.
An illustrated book called The Heart Farmer, for all ages, because the world needs more love!
I dreamed of a game for therapists, woke up and created it . . . “the feeling better game.”
Participation in Art Tribe Kauai. (A group of us create beautiful weddings by the sea in the Hawaiian islands, including beautiful decor and amazing handmade flower leis and haiku).

sarongs and jewelery - 1Running my own fair trade company for organic home goods: www.bytheseacompany.com

beautiful - 15. My ability to help make the world a better place by spreading positive messages and teaching people art, especially those who think they are not creative. Everyone is creative! Some people have been told they are not good at art—it may take time and practice to find out what inspires you artistically.

Indigo dye6. Working with indigo and color. Indigo is one of the oldest-known dyes. It is pure magic to work with! The color starts as chartreuse and changes right before your eyes to navy . . . truly wonderful to work with such amazing techniques.

textile love - 17. I am so very grateful for all the support I receive from the community, their participation and encouragement for my sharing of creative projects.

love rocks - 18. Random acts of kindness. I have always been a giver;
giving is the gateway to abundance and it feels so good!

work space - 19. Winsor & Newton paints and Copic markers, Berol Prismacolor, organic dyes and really, really fine papers!!

hawaii - 110. Divine guidance. I am divinely guided in all I do. Source works through me. When I create art, source is with me, guiding my mind. I am grateful for my personal spiritual alignment which allows me access to the universe and brings forth global messages of positivity and higher knowledge.

5 second bunny - 1p.s., Everyone who comes to visit my Art cottage is asked to draw a 5-second bunny. This has been a tradition in my house for many years and always a great laugh!!

life on the edge - 1Living on the Edge

selfie - 1Kathryn Letson was born and raised in Minnesota, where she spent time in the city and the woods. She went to Parsons School of Design in NYC and graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design, going on to work at some of the most well-known Design houses in the world. After traveling the globe as a Corporate Trend Director, she become a mentor at Parsons, an illustration instructor and a global speaker in the Fashion industry as an expert in textiles.

Kathryn moved to Hawaii to make her dreams a reality. Now creating Art and textiles from her home office in Kauai, her life is focused on sharing knowledge, creating new concepts to better the world, and serving others through Art. What could be more powerful? Your imagination is the engine that runs your life, and Art is a direct pathway into your imagination. Kathryn lives life with love and gratitude.

www.bytheseacompany.com

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Liz and I met when we both were in residence at Noniland Hawaiian Agricultural Research Center and Bee Sanctuary over New Year’s 2013.  Her role was as a vegan and raw chef for guests, mine was artist-in-residence… the bottom line is that I reconnected with a soul sister in Kauai, one of my heart homes.  It was magical!  What I love about Liz is her quiet yet fierce dedication to the earth and her gourmet preparations of whole foods with such love and reverence—truly inspirational.  One of the best cosmic giggles that we shared was learning that, unbeknownst to us, we were both at the same writers conference in Los Angeles in 2009 just “by chance”!  I love the Universe! and I am so excited that she contributed her beautiful words and wisdom to my blog.  Loving you Liz!

Liz’s Top 10 List:

1. I am grateful to my breath for sustaining my life. For being a function of my presence and the flow to which I return again and again when I require grounding calmness and peace.

heart2. I am grateful to my heart for being the space I connect to with my breath to feel deeply and express my true self. My heart is the place from which I most purely emanate my light.
3. I am grateful to my body for being the vehicle for which I traverse this existence. I give much care and nurturing to my body to ensure that my daily experience is smooth, comfortable and vibrant.
4. I am grateful to movement for helping me process my energy. Be it yoga, dance, walking, swimming etc giving my physical body the gift of flow supports my health, interactions, emotions, strength and clarity. It is one of my primary outlets for releasing unwanted feelings.
 rainbowplate5. I am grateful to food for being a source of absolute love. I receive so much nourishment and energy from what I put into my body but also great joy in the act of preparing, sharing and consuming it.
 waterfall6. I am grateful to pachamama for being an epic provider of life, to life and for life. Her beauty, resilience and abundance is unparalleled.
 dustliz7. I am grateful to my partner Dustin, family, friends and community for allowing me the experience of love, nurturing, support, togetherness, joy, laughter, happiness and expression. I am grateful to have people in my life to act as mirrors helping to show me so clearly what I need to see in myself.
forestwoman8. I am grateful to my ancestors for being the protects of universal knowledge and wisdom. I pray that we as a species are able to remember the power and importance of these ancient peoples and collectively open ourselves to their sacred teachings.
 bamboo9. I am grateful to universal wisdom for being the force that surrounds all of existence. When I am feeling most clear, I feel the power of this force and the truth in its wisdom. I am in gratitude to universal wisdom for helping us all find our way home.
10. I am grateful to presence for the opportunity to live in the now. For the reminder that the past and future are creations of the mind and I have the opportunity in every moment, at every moment to create and experience the highest potential of and for my life.

lizblueFor over 10 years, Liz has been in pursuit of health and happiness.  She was born and raised in Baltimore, MD where clean food and abundant living was an important part of her upbringing.  These themes continue to be the guiding force in her life.

Known to ‘dance to the beat of her own drum,’ Liz has spent much of her life traveling the world, exploring cultures, communities, cuisine and spirituality in search of what feeds the body, mind and soul. She went to University in Sydney and Florence, worked in children’s book publishing in Los Angeles, taught English in Thailand, studied yoga, meditation and Ayurveda in India and Nepal and sacred plant medicine in Peru. She is a certified yoga instructor and has most recently spent time as a chef for communities in Costa Rica, Colorado and Kauai. Liz lives with her partner Dustin on Maui.

       www.lizselvawellness.com

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When I met Courtney at a dinner party last year, I instantly knew that I had met a true soul sister.  We chatted about some of my most valued and favorite topics: our dogs, art and painting, writing and living an examined life.  I have always admired women writers, women screenwriters and women directors~ especially women writer-directors breaking down barriers in Hollywood~ all heroines in my book!  Here’s to Courtney’s Top 10 things that she is grateful for: it’s honest, real and amazing! Thank you Courtney, you rock sister!  Cheers!

CourtneyDanielsshootingondrivewayCourtney directing on set.

  1. Jimmy, my husband. He believes in me, and when he gets excited about my writing, it gets me excited about my writing.
  2. Working with friends. Shooting with people you know and enjoy, that you have a history with, makes every step of the process more fun.
  3. My dogs. As with all animals, each is a character. I like taking breaks from work to pet them and hang out with them.
  4. Others’ feedback. It’s helpful to hear which parts of my writing resonate with readers/viewers and which don’t.
  5. The things other people make—paintings, music, books, movies. When Steven Soderbergh was accepting an award for one of his films, he commented, “Art makes life worth living.” Trying to imagine life without the arts is like trying to imagine the planet without trees.
  6. Doing a mix of things makes me happier than spending too much time and energy on only one thing or another.
  7. Iced matcha lattes. I drink two a day. I’m so addicted to this healthy ‘treat,’ and the matcha powder is so expensive, that I lick any undissolved grains of it off the bamboo whisk and glass the way people in movies rub grains of leftover cocaine into their gums.
  8. The wisdom of others. Reading books like “The War of Art” and “The Alchemist,” and clipping interviews of successful people talking about the lessons they learned on their journey helps me feel less alone and it fortifies me to keep working. Current favorite bit of wisdom: “Do not look back. And do not dream about the future, either. It will neither give you back the past, nor satisfy your other daydreams. Your duty, your reward—your destiny—are here and now.” (Dag Hammarskjold, “Markings”)
  9. Tracy Anderson. I’ve done a lot of different types of workouts and I think hers are the most efficient way to get in the best shape of your life. I will probably never do anyone else’s workouts. They make me feel great, and energized, and better able to tackle film production, which is draining.
  10. I’m grateful to God. Obviously I don’t know if there really is a God, but I choose to have faith, because I would rather have the comfort it provides than not. Some people don’t need it, which I get and respect. But it has helped me a lot, having God to talk to when I need strength or courage to keep taking risks. I feel like everything is a risk—even the smallest step can make you feel vulnerable and exposed to rejection and disappointment. To keep taking small and big steps every day… well, I think this is why L.A. people are famously “woo-woo.” Most of us need a lot of faith (or other coping strategies, like meditation, yoga, etc.) to keep moving forward.

CourtneyDanielspicforIMDBCourtney Daniels grew up in Houston, attended the University of Texas at Austin, and lives in Los Angeles. After writing feature screenplays on spec for several years, she wrote and directed a short film that premiered at LA Shorts Fest. She then made a feature, “What Other Couples Do,” which premiered at the Pasadena film festival. Courtney writes about people, books and things on her site, Sugarinsixtyseconds.com, and is currently shooting the pilot episode of a web series she’s writing. Her film, “What Other Couples Do,” can be streamed on Amazon and on the indie film subscription site, Fandor.com.

   www.Sugarinsixtyseconds.com

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Paula Youmell is a holistic health nurse whom I met when I was living in Northern New York.  I had an opportunity to see Paula in action when she presented at the Holistic Health Fair that we organized in the town of Potsdam, she is an amazingly knowledgeable enthusiastic teacher of holistic health, whole foods and natural healing I must say!  Paula continues to inspire me with her blog Wise Women Red Tent blog posts which I read voraciously! Here’s Paula’s Top 10 list of what she is grateful for as a Wise Woman Nurse!  Thank you Paula!

Paula title image#1. I can create my schedule to include hang out time with my two boys: Jake 16 and Eli 13. That’s me, Mom, in the middle.  I can see a client, take off into the woods for a walk or swim with my kids and dog (maybe both), and get back to clients again later!

#2. I get to do what I have a fiery passion for: inspire others to change their lifestyle and heal through nature. I grew up watching my grandfather make his own herbal medicines. These images of my grandpa-witch doctor (as my sisters and I called him) stuck with me. Right out of nursing school I started looking for natural ways to heal all the ills I encountered in my hospital RN duties.

point 3#3. I work from my home saving gas and time from the stress of commuting to work. I can get up from my desk, do laps about the house (I have 2 sets of stairs which makes for interesting figure 8s and loops upstairs & down!), toss in a couple of yoga poses to stretch and expand, and get back into the work mode feeling refreshed!

 Paula 4#4. I can whip up awesome, whole food meals for my kids using locally sourced fruits & veggies, meats, eggs, dairy, etc. This is much easier as I am at home. The time spent commuting can be spent cooking. I set my own hours and can be finished with wearing my Wise Woman Nurse’s hat by 4 or 4:30 to have an amazing and nourishing meal on the table by 5:30. As a heal by nature & whole foods kind of gal… this is very important to me. Paula 5#5. I can work in my jammies! Yup, that’s correct: If I am working with phone clients or taking a day to work on my book projects (I have written two healing books so far!) I can stay in my jammies just as long as I want. It is always amusing for the UPS man to catch me in my jammies at 1 PM!  I can blast classic rock and jam in my jammies on my periodic romps through my home to loosen up and lighten up. Sitting all day is such a drag!  Yes, I am straight out of bed, pull my hair up, in this picture and the Garfield nighty… it is 31 years old!

#6. I’m my own grandma. Oops, wait, I meant boss. I am my own boss! This is an amazing gift to myself. I am totally in control of how my business is run and how the boss treats me.

Paula 7#7. I can schedule time or days off for yoga classes, longer walks in the woods, field trips with my kids & their school, exciting alone day trips, and my continuing education. Sure I make up that time later, doing evening & weekend work, but I am the ultimate scheduler of my time.

Paula 8#8: I meet, support, and create friendships with the most amazing people! This is deeply satisfying to draw positive energy and people into my life. Here I am with a group of local gals whipping up herbal medicines. This is what I mean about satisfying work and relationships!

Paula 9#9: Little by little the work I do, and so many others too, we are creating a paradigm shift on this planet. We are teaching others to re-connect with nature (because we are nature) and how to care better for ourselves, this planet we live on, and all the other beings we share this planet with. This, my friends, is HUGE!

Paula 10#10. I can live in rhythm with the cycles of nature: getting up when I wake up (which is usually 6 AM!) and tucking into bed when the sun says goodbye for the day and/or I am just plain beat. Not having an alarm clock setting off a stress response in my body, jarring me out of my sleep, is a perk of being my own boss (or was it my own grandma?).

For these reasons, and many more I could come up with, I am grateful I have listened to my inner wisdom and followed my path as a Wise Woman Nurse, here to support others on their paths to more vibrant health.

Namasté

Paula Youmell, RN, Wise Woman Nurse

Youmell PaulaPaula Youmell, RN is a Wise Woman Nurse,

Natural Health Educator, and Author in Potsdam, NY.

www.PaulaYoumellRN.com

 

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