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Archive for the ‘Inspiring Women’ Category

Marla is a phenomenally inspired woman: her job title even happens to be “Chief Inspiration Officer,” so inviting Marla to share her #HolidayHumanity Storytelling Campaign was a natural fit.  I had the pleasure of meeting Marla through a mutual friend, another inspired woman, when they were on a so-called “Artist’s Date” (à la The Artist’s Way) in 2012.  As the owner of Embrace Your Spotlight, Marla does amazing work as a mentor and coach for entrepreneurs looking to build a genuine, trusted and compelling personal brand while redesigning a leveraged business based on a healthy money relationship generating leads, ideal clients and higher revenues.  I am honored to call Marla my friend and power-walking partner along the beaches of So Cal.

Check out her blog post here and perhaps you’ll be inspired to contribute your story to her #HolidayHumanity Storytelling Campaign. 

Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

Embrace Your Spotlight

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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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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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