Category Archives: Self-confidence

Hard Lessons Learned from the Big Move

iGnite - make sense of change

Photo above taken during a Susan B. Komen rafting trip during the iGnite Escape to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Point to Ponder:
What changes are you currently experiencing?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I suppose I can officially claim California as my new home state. While I’m a Texan and Austinite at heart, I’ve lived in San Diego for a grand total of sixteen days, and I am pleased to share that with each passing day I am feeling more confident, comfortable and accomplished, as I have achieved the following three goals:
I found a babysitter (actually, Durant, our four year old spotted her out at the hotel pool and the rest was history).
I can get myself to the Pacific Coast Highway and all beaches with no GPS (thanks to the wonderful iGnite member Jill Imhoff who lives part-time in San Diego and has taken me under her warm wing.) #StrongerTogetHER!
I can get to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for an awesome hike, and I actually know where the heck I am going
While I am thankful and proud of these emotionally grounding steps and stabilizing pillars, this whole moving picture was and has been nothing short of frantic, sad and angry, as sixteen days ago I was a wreck and the canvas was an ugly mess!

The week leading up to our departure to the west coast was bittersweet. The ‘sweet’ being spending time with dear friends and family members, and the ‘bitter’ being seeing our home that we brought both of my children Durant and Malaine home from the hospital to and was also filled with amazing memories, become an empty house. That just plain stunk. The absolute worst of the worst was saying goodbye, which if I never had to say another goodbye as long as I lived, I’d be okay with it!! I know that’s not realistic, but it’s my truth.

In the moving ‘blender’ were absolute physical, emotional and mental exhaustion, the emotions that come with a husband who has been gone for two months due to his new job and now being physically back in our lives, along with real sadness and anger. I had been faithful, strong and positive throughout the entire job loss, job change, putting the house on the market and the sale of the house. Then, when the reality of leaving everyone and everything I loved set in and we set off to San Diego, the blender produced an ugly mess of emotions.

When we landed in San Diego, it was of course sunny and there was a cool breeze blowing, but really I couldn’t have cared less. I was legitmately sad, mad and a house overlooking the beach in La Jolla would not have satisfied me. As we drove to see our new house (which I had not seen in person yet), everything was unfamiliar, and directionally nothing made sense. I couldn’t tell which way was North, South, East or West. When we got to our empty house, the rooms seemed small and the house felt cold, and even though the neighborhood was highly recommended and described as the perfect place for families, it felt unfriendly. Ultimately, it wasn’t Austin, “my people” were missing, and my in-control, comfortable and happy world had just been rocked and turned upside down.

Looking back, of course these were normal emotions which I should’ve anticipated (especially because I have never moved like this before), but I’m a’ glass half full’-type and a faithful person. I knew I couldn’t change the situation, and we had moved to a pretty spectacular place, so complaining or feeling sorry for myself was just not an option. However, this was still a big change and even the most optimistic attitude couldn’t combat my sadness.

I’m not writing this journal to give you the play-by-play on our move, rather, in the past two weeks I’ve learned a lot that I want to share. As summer has officially ended and the fall season and school year has begun, there is a lot of change that is and will be occurring in not just mine, but many of our lives right about now. And if you aren’t experiencing change now, there will be a day when you will, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned thus far:

1. Being sad and mad are normal and healthy emotions, but they must get out. I was being totally passive aggressive and ugly to my husband Russell, which was terrible for him and created a ton of tension between us. It wasn’t until I told him exactly why I was mad and sad and that I would get over it, but that I needed him to let me be mad and sad and not try to fix it that things started to get better. It was like having the flu, and the emotions needed time to run their course. Thankfully they did, and things became better quickly.

2. Manage your expectations, take baby steps and accept feeling out of control. I wanted to have San Diego ‘figured out’ the day we landed. I wanted all boxes unpacked and the house looking great and feeling like our old house within days of arriving. I was craving organization and control! Of course all of this was absolutely not possible, and thanks to the advice from iGnite Leader and dear friend Kathleen Parker, I needed to “relax, breathe and focus on having fun with my family. There were no deadlines.” Then, my sweet cousin Craig reminded me to “not lose any sleep over unpacked boxes.” What profound wisdom! And so, I’ve doing what I can when I can and am making great strides to chill and realize this whole process is a journey.

3. Don’t compare your new life to your old life. As soon as we got in our rental car and left the airport to begin our new life, seriously, my brain immediately started trying to fit my Austin life into my San Diego life. It was the strangest thing, as I could physically feel my brain trying to make it happen. I was in complete compare mode. Though San Diego and Austin have similar cultures, San Diego is it’s own place — as all places are– and while I can and will certainly partake in similar activities and develop endearing and meaningful relationships like I have in Austin, they are different. It’s a new time and place and things are automatically going to look and feel different. I will of course hold onto all friendships and memories in Austin, but in order to fully experience and make the best out of our time in San Diego, I need to fully embrace it.

4. We are StrongerTogetHER. It was intentional for our summer shirts to read StrongerTogetHER. We believe that living, sharing and experiencing life together and in community is the best and only way. Plus, we believe we are created for community. But what I didn’t expect was how badly I was going to need it and appreciate it once I got to San Diego. As I mentioned earlier, sweet iGnite member and friend Jill Imhoff lives part-time in Austin and part-time in San Diego, and the day we landed she reached out to me and validated all of my mad and sad feelings. Then, within three days she was offering to help me unpack. Letting others help me is not something I accept well, but I was drowning in chaos and confusion and I knew letting her help me would be the best thing. Then, three days later, she drove me around to help me get the lay of the land and most importantly, get to the beaches. She also took me to Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, where we hiked. What I’ve learned is how important it is to be vulnerable, raw and let others be your neighbor. We can’t and aren’t created to do anything alone, and change is much easier to accept and move through when we allow others to help us. Reach out to others and allow them to give you the gift guiding you down a path that they’ve already walked down and are better equipped to show you through.

So, I challenge you to ask yourself: what change(s) am I experiencing right now? Do you have a new job, are you new to iGnite or Austin, or have you recently moved? Is your first or last child entering Kindergarden or are you an empty nester? Are you expecting a child or are you a new parent? Are you newly married or recently divorced? Are you in a new relationship or have you recently lost someone you love?

Change is everywhere and all around us. The key to managing it and getting through it without losing your mind is letting go and sharing it with others. And so, here’s to a fall season of new beginnings togetHER!

Action Item:
Stop trying to control your changing circumstances, whatever they are.
Instead, let go and allow yourself to share it with others.

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How Alli is In the Game

Battling Feelings of Inadequacy
Continued from Are You in the Game or On the Sidelines?

iGnite - Courage

Point to Ponder:
Do you find yourself comparing yourself with others?

by Alli Phillips

by Alli Phillips

To compliment my teaching classes at iGnite, I have accepted a new position at Mecca Gym & Spa, where in addition to iGnite and Backyard fitness, I have worked off and on as a fitness class instructor and personal trainer for many years, hired initially when I was pregnant with my oldest child, Laney, who is now 15. I am very excited (actually “excited” doesn’t even begin to describe it!) about this opportunity, the new direction my career in health and fitness is taking, and about going “back to work”. But I have also felt incredibly, even debilitatingly, nervous approaching the official start date. My new title is…. drumroll…. “Marketing and Communications Director.” (So important sounding right?!) And over the last few weeks of negotiations, which included writing my own job description!, while pinching myself to make sure that this “dream job” isn’t just a dream, I have come to realize that my nervousness has been due to, in large part, comparison, specifically comparison of myself to a co-worker and friend who is leaving Mecca and from whom I will be assuming many responsibilities.

One of my favorite quotes is “Comparison is the thief of joy,” by Theodore Roosevelt, and I have been living this truth for about two weeks now as I have been learning the details of my new responsibilities and transitioning with my co-worker/friend. I have felt joy and confidence, which at times was “sucked out” of me when I have allowed thoughts to enter my head like, “She’s so creative and smart, I’ll never be able to fill her shoes.” But, in the last few days, by sharing with others my feelings of inadequacy, and more specifically admitting my feelings to the friend with whom I have been comparing myself, I have recognized my “faulty thinking” and been able to start re-channelling my nervous energy positively.

Through conversations, emails, and text exchanges, with her as well as with other friends and family, I have been reminded that not only am I qualified for this position, but I am highly and uniquely qualified; and more important, I have passion for this job! I have spent more than half my life leading fitness classes and educating others about lifestyle exercise, so it’s not just what I do, it’s who I am, and this job will be a new platform to continue teaching and sharing my passion with others.

So now, although I still feel a little queasy when I think about this new chapter in my career and in my life, my feelings of inadequacy have been replaced with eager determination to be the best “Marketing and Communications Director” I can be. And although I still feel nervous about my new job and my big fancy-pants title, it is a “good nervous” energy fueled with joy.

Action Item:
Remind yourself that comparison is the thief of joy, and ask your loved ones to remind you of your unique qualities and skills instead of comparing yours with someone else’s.

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Face Your Fears

Inspiration from the iGnite Archives

iGnite - Face your Fears

On the heels of the 4th of July, we are embracing our freedoms that we have been given and facing our fears. Our inspiration is from the blog post from a few years back, Are You In the Game, or On the Sidelines?  We encourage you to read it again and be inspired to get in the game.

This week, and through the remainder of the month, we are crushing fear! Not only apply our Give It a Try in July theme to your iGnite classes, but implement it to your personal and professional life as well. Choose one fear you have, grab a friend for support (if you need), then commit to taking action to overcome it. And, if you are up for inspiring and encouraging others, comment here or email us at hello@igniteyourlifenow.com. We’re living in the no-fear zone and it’s going to be AWESOME!!

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Real Women, Real Stories | Missy Zinnecker: Navigating Life as a Military Wife

Real Women Real Stories | iGnite Your Life

Missy's Story: Navigating Life as a Military Wife

photo: Catherine Sanderson

Roots:  I was born and raised in Austin. Most recently, my husband’s military career took us to The Netherlands for five years. We loved our time there and all of the amazing travel opportunities we had. We are now in the process of moving to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas where Chad will attend Command and General Staff College for a year. We will then begin a new path in the Army, where my husband will receive various levels of training and education to become a Foreign Area Officer. He will specialize in South East Asia, where we will eventually live and work at a U.S. embassy or consulate. We are really excited about this new adventure!

Missy and Chad

Missy and Chad

Family Life:  I have been married to my husband, Chad, for nine years. We are pregnant with our first child and I am due on December 1st. Chad and I have technically known each other since birth. We were both born premature at Seton Hospital around the same time and were in the NICU together, so our mothers got to know one another. We didn’t begin dating, however, until my final semester at Texas A&M University.

Work Life:  Out of college, I worked for the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) in Austin for 5 & 1/2 years in their Customer Service Policies and Procedures group. Then, my husband’s military career took us abroad where, instead of working, I completed my master’s degree in international relations. I hope to work in the embassy when we move to SE Asia.

Who Inspires Me Most:  Many of the senior Army spouses I have met throughout our time in the military. These women have raised children both with and without their husbands, navigated numerous moves across the country and abroad, and done it all with a great attitude toward life.

If I Weren’t In My Current Career I’d Be…  An interior designer. I love home design shows and Pinterest!

~ My Story ~

Becoming a military wife wasn’t ever how I envisioned my life. I thought I would graduate from college, begin my career, meet someone along the way and settle down somewhere. All of that changed when Chad and I began dating just before I graduated and I became aware of his commitment to the U.S. Army.

Chad and I married on July 1, 2006. We knew we wanted to get married before his first deployment and this gave us a few months together as a married couple before he went to Iraq for  the first time. We have been through three deployments over the last nine years, and I have learned that staying busy is the best way for me to handle the stresses and the many months of separation associated with deployments. Through the first two deployments, I was fortunate enough to have a full-time job in Austin to keep myself occupied. Living with either my sister or parents also made the challenges much easier.

travelcollage-01

Fun with travels and friends while living in The Netherlands

One of our most difficult times as a couple occurred when we made the international move to The Netherlands. After the initial excitement of living in Europe wore off, we hit a few bumps in the road. Being immersed in a new culture had it’s challenges, and we had to learn that we needed to work a little harder to get things taken care of — everything from figuring out where to buy a vacuum cleaner to how to navigate the narrow roads took a little more effort and patience. The cloudy/rainy weather also affected our mood. These changes, along with the fact that I was no longer working full-time, made my outlook less than positive and affected how I was treating my husband. After some much needed reflection, I realized that I needed to get busy pursuing a few of my passions and focus on my personal goals. Soon, I joined the board of the Military Spouses Club, where I met some wonderful friends, and I also began taking classes in pursuit of a master’s degree. Soon I grew to truly love every aspect of our life in The Netherlands, the sense of home we felt there and the people we befriended. Saying goodbye to that life a few weeks ago was one of the hardest things I have done.

PromotionCeremony-01

At Chad’s most recent promotion ceremony: being promoted to  Major

In overcoming the challenges of moving abroad, I learned the power of the quote, “Bloom where you are planted.”  Moving every few years was never something I desired, but I now look forward to the new opportunities that arise every time we are stationed somewhere different. A new home comes with new chances to experience life differently and opened my eyes to differing perspectives and new opportunities to learn and grow as a person. Working through that challenging time also reminds me to keep my personal goals at the forefront of my life, despite my ever-changing location. 


iGnite’s Real Women, Real Stories is a series highlighting the inspiring lives and experiences of women in our community. We hope their stories motivate and inspire you to live your life to the fullest.

Know someone who would be a great candidate for a Real Women, Real Stories feature? Email nominations to hello@igniteyourlifenow.com


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Member Spotlight: Leslie McConnico

IMG_7038
iGniter of  7.5 years
Roots:
I am a true native Austinite, born and raised as we say. I have lived here almost all of my life with the exception of some college and for a short time in Houston. I love the city and it just keeps getting better.
Family Life:
I have been married to Steve for 22 years. Steve has two “boys”, Kit (33) and Andrew (30). Andrew is married to a wonderful woman, Caitlin, and they live in Seattle. Andrew is a landscape architect with a commercial firm, and Caitlin is in Public Health. Kit lives in Austin and does sports announcing for college games and professional soccer teams. He also has a radio show on The Horn. Steve and I have a daughter, Callie, who is a junior at Hamilton College in upstate New York. We have lots of fun together, but I’m not sure if and when I’ll get her back to Austin!
Work life:
I retired from Stuart Title Guaranty Company soon after marrying Steve. I was the Director of Communications for their national office. With two boys at home, managing their activities, and becoming pregnant 4 months after getting married, we decided it was best for our family.
Biggest lesson learned through my iGnite experience:
I can do more than I think I can. It is so good to have positive reinforcements and cheering coaches. They have made me better at some things and pushed me to a new level. I also enjoy the women of the group–who knew exercising could be so much fun and rewarding!
Best advice given:
“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” -Don Williams Jr. (American Novelist and Poet, b. 1968) I really have to try and keep this in my head. I am such a planner, which can be a very good thing, but I forget to take everything in and enjoy the moment and the journey.
What I like to do in my free time:
I love to read and travel. Those are my hobbies with a little Mah Jongg thrown in. I think I caught the travel bug from my mother! We are going to the Amazon for 9 days in June.
My favorite color is:
Orange. My daughter says its because when I attended Camp Waldemar I was a Comanche, and their color is orange. There might be something to this, but I am drawn to the color in clothes, fruits, shoes and nature. It makes me happy.

Member Spotlight: Mary Torkelson

iGnite - Mary TorkelsoniGniter of  1 year
Roots:
I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When I was 10 years old, my dad was transferred to Houston, and I moved to Austin 1997. Though I spent the first 10 years of my life in Milwaukee, I think I’ve earned the right to be called a Texan!
Family Life:
I married John Torkelson in 2001. We have two children: John Evan is 10 years old and is in the 5th grade, and Lily is 7 years old and is in the first grade.
Work life:
I have been a veterinary technician and a bus driver. In my adult life prior to having children, I worked as an auto claim rep and manager for State Farm Insurance. Just recently, I’ve started substitute teaching and working as a clothing stylist with Stitch Fix.
Biggest lesson learned through my iGnite experience:
I may wake up in the morning and not feel like working out, but I know that if I go workout for that hour or 45 minutes, I’ll leave with a smile on my face that will last all day.
Best advice given:
When I was a freshman at Texas A&M, I had a problem with my schedule and called my mom. She was very firm and said I needed to speak up for myself and get the problem resolved. She flipped the switch in my brain that told me I was an adult now and whatever happened to me was up to me alone. I’ve never had a problem speaking up after that. Just ask my friends!
What I’m looking forward to:
The iGnite trip to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in July! One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself is sign up for the Bend, Oregon trip last summer. There was no question that I was going to go to Idaho this year.
If I were a pair of shoes, I would be:
A pair of Mary Jane’s. They are classic and go with everything!

It’s Never Too Late

The Wisdom Share Continued
Living in Community, Part III

Embrace change

Point to Ponder:
Do you ever find yourself thinking it’s ‘too late’ to make something happen in your life?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

While in the middle of our wisdom sharing, a dear friend of mine from out of town sent me an inspiring story about a 91 year-old women by the name of Barbara Beskind who is working her dream job in Silicon Valley. Yep, you read it correctly. She is working her dream job at 91 years old. Pretty amazing, right?!

Upon reading Barbara’s story, I had just spoken to a small group of business students and told them that as an entrepreneur I have yet to arrive, which is very frustrating because I really want to arrive! I realize that this is just life and me always wanting to be better and “get it right,” but Barbara’s words were timely and reminded me to never lose hopedream big, always persevere and that there is continual purpose and meaning behind everything that happens in our lives.  Barbara said this: “I arrived! As a ten year-old I wanted to be an inventor, but it took me 80 years.”

Scott Stump’s article about Barbara is bursting with her spry and sharp wisdom resulting from having grown up during the depression. Here, a few of Barbara’s pieces of advice I enjoyed most:

  1. Get Rid of Your Devices: “I’m one of the wealthiest people in the world. I’m as wealthy as Warren Buffett because I measure my wealth by having uninterrupted time. I have no cell phone except one to use for emergency. I have no laptop. I have no smartphone, no iPod, because I can’t see them. I have uninterrupted time to think.”
  2. Expect the unexpected: “I think the beauty of being 91 is that you can look back and see how the little pieces fit into the big pieces of life, and life is a complete puzzle. Only when you get to be this age can you see it, and that’s the joy and the excitement of it.”
  3. Don’t let age get in your way: “Age is not a barrier to performance. Live life as an adventure, and expect change and endorse it, embrace it. Because as you age, every day you will be making changes. You will be adapting to changes in the way you have to do things whether they’re physical or they’re visual.
  4. Don’t let “old” become your identity: “Everybody has untapped resources. You just have to find them. They may be in music, they may be in childcare, they may be in volunteering at the hospital or at the library. I think with the aging, you so often lose your identity, and I think this is what IDEO gives to me, the opportunity to explore what my identity is.”

Here’s to an awesome Spring Break, living in community, sharing your life experiences & wisdom and enjoying this rich video about Barbara!

VideoOnToday

Action Item:
Embrace your life as an adventure, open to the idea that things you thought you’ll never get to do or become, are still a possibility.

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The Compliment Dare

Loving Yourself & Others, Part IV

compliments

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

When I sat down in January to plan what I was going to write about in February, the idea of loving ourselves and others felt natural because February is all about love. As I pondered different actions we could take that would demonstrate love, the one that continued to stir in my head was the ability to receive a compliment with a simple and gracious “thank you.”

Let’s face it, we women are THE WORST at receiving compliments with a “thank you” or without the extra “oh”, “well”, “but”, and “really?” On the flip side, we are THE BEST at giving compliments! We have no problem showering others with compliments, but when it comes to loving ourselves and the person giving the compliment enough to graciously receive it with a “thank you”, as a whole we’re pretty bad.

How do I know this? Because graciously accepting compliments was something I once stunk at, and I continue to struggle with. It wasn’t until a friend called me out many years ago that I became aware of how rude, ungrateful and unflattering it was for me to not to be able to say “thank you”. I thought a lot about why I couldn’t receive a compliment. Did I feel unworthy? Did I not love myself enough to receive a beautiful compliment? Or was it because I was too focused on my imperfections that I couldn’t see or appreciate what others saw? Honestly, it was probably all of the above.

Taking it a step further, my whole life I’ve wished I had long, slender legs. I’ve never been satisfied with my long torso and short legs until Dietitian Anne Wilfong spoke at one of our winter retreats. She too referenced her dislike of her short legs and long torso, and said that it wasn’t until she ran her first marathon that she realized how grateful she was for her short, strong legs. Not only did they carry her for 26.2 long miles, but they allowed her to train all of those miles! It was then that I realized I needed to stop wishing I had longer legs and simply be grateful for what I do have. So, to my short legs: I am blessed to have both of you. You are strong and allow me to run, jump, walk, play, skip, ride my bike and go everywhere I need and want to go. Thank you, and I will never wish you were longer again!

Gratitude. I’m learning that expressing gratitude is the key to living our best life, and while being able to receive a compliment with a gracious “thank you” and complimenting a body part that we are typically critical of might seem trivial, to me it all equals loving ourselves, loving the person who was kind enough to give us the compliment and appreciating what we’ve been given.

This week and moving forward, I invite you to join me in the Compliment Dare. The goal is to begin receiving compliments with a simple “thank you”, while also loving yourself enough to say “thank you” to your unique features and characteristics. And as you embark on the Compliment Dare, below are two beautiful iGnite leader examples of complimenting a body part that will inspire and encourage you to start saying “thank you”.

Amy

Amy

“On a good day when I’m feeling confident and self-assured, I call them my “character lines.” On a rough day when I am feeling anxious, worried and insecure, they show up as “old lady wrinkles.” What I realize when I am honest with myself is that every single one of the deep groves in my forehead and furrowed brow carry a lifetime of rich living. The etched wrinkles are complemented by the crows feet around my eyes that light up my face every time I smile and laugh…..which I must have done a lot of in this lifetime if their prominence is any indicator!  I have earned every single one of my wrinkles; a testament to a life well lived!”
-Amy

Catherine

Catherine

“When I get the occasional compliment on my hair, my tendency is always to respond with the bad — “oh really? Wow, it’s so fine and straight and flat and there’s so much of it…and this…and that… but thank you though. ” When really I should just rock it. Why am I responding with negativity when someone is saying something nice to me? The fact that my hair is relatively ‘easy’ to handle is something I should be incredibly grateful for and stop nitpicking about the things I wish were different about it. So, there — thank you God for this crazy head of hair that I should be nothing but grateful for!”
– Catherine

Action Item:
When given a compliment, practice receiving it with a gracious “thank you” and begin complimenting and being grateful for the physical features you are often critical of.

Embracing the Yin and Yang of Life

waterfall

by Cary Fyfe

by Cary Fyfe

Life….it flows, it surprises, it lifts and drops. Sometimes, it drops more than it lifts. And sometimes, no matter what we do to alter unwelcome circumstances, we have no choice but to let go and sit in what is happening. To not strive…to stay in the sensation of the experience…to allow tension to transform to strength. While it works to respond actively to many situations, when we surrender — while surrounding ourselves with support — we learn to love the truth that is right there, patiently smiling upon us.

That truth finally snagged me, when I became a mother to two boys…two very busy, delightful, public boys. It was a process though…I continually turned my head to the chances to be enlightened — I really thought — not proud of this one — that I had reached my mountaintop of maturity and wisdom, that I was equipped to rock this gig of motherhood. I had always worked with children, what did I not know? And not surprisingly, my arrogance was swamped by the first rough wind that took me to my knees…a wind that knowingly whispered, “Self-anointed ‘I’ve-got-this’ mama, these boys are here to teach you…so please listen.”

And listen I did. But trust what I heard, I did not. I was a slow learner. I was intent on — dang it — being the writer of my family’s story. We all have periods in our lives where we feel wildly tossed about by rapids, and we madly paddle to avoid the inevitable waterfall — we hear its roar, and it terrifies us. While we wonder how — or if — we will reach a peaceful shore before the cascade envelops us, we strive to fight the inevitable, to change the story. Oh, oh, I wanted to change the story. I did not want to be in the spotlight of teachers and administrators who were dialing my number. I did not want to consult experts to guide us along the way. And worst of all, I did not heed the messages that each of my precious sons were sending me…I was too frantic, too busy, too scared.

So I shook. I pushed back. I cratered. I chose to pull hard, away from the uncomfortable sensations; I was resistant to releasing the hold that fear had planted inside of me. While my precious sons were shining their little rainbows of uniqueness and wonder at me, I was franticly responding to the messages that I had been given my whole life, and to those that were being given to me as a mother, by the small — not always kind — world surrounding my family. “Try this, try that, if you don’t do this now, they’ll do this later”…and one day, my paddles broke, our boat flipped, and we all went over the waterfall.

There is good news here, and it took a trip into the dreaded abyss to trust it: the truth that lies below the fall has been waiting patiently, for our arrival. In order for my story to be changed, I had to first let go and embrace the story that was present. That precipice, that torrent of water and where it landed us, was my lovely truth. That free fall down the current, into the calmer stream below, forced me to let go — to hold myself and my family in love and compassion as I recognized that my story was, indeed, a beautiful one.

When life’s current determines our direction, we must power up and actively engage, while also dwelling quietly in the sensations of the experience. Both are necessary. The active response — Yang — fuels us for motion, and the passive response — Yin — heals, informs and sustains us. While we use our strength to paddle, we give in to the force of the current. And no matter where we finally settle, it takes both engagement and surrender…Yin and Yang…to arrive. Beauty in strife, strength in repose…balance.  I so love nurturing that balanced, life process, as it is mirrored in my own practice and teaching of Yin Yoga…to release the struggle, and to witness the beauty that then flows.

Join Cary February 28th for a Workshop on Yin Yoga Exploration:YinYogaExploration-01

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The Power of Accepting & Sharing Who We REALLY Are

Point to Ponder:
Do you ever find yourself not responding to questions or situations authentically
in order to avoid others having a negative opinion of you?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Do you ever find yourself wanting to laugh out loud, ask a question, make a comment or take an action, but instead you don’t follow through to avoid drawing attention to yourself, risking that someone might think you’re strange, or fear they will think negatively of you? I do, and that’s one of the areas I think we all can make self improvement strides in to see rich results.

Last February during our Winter Renewal Retreat, one of our guest speakers Dave Sunde said, Vulnerability never risked is intimacy never gained.” Let me repeat that: Vulnerability never risked is intimacy never gained.  For me, that was an epic A-HA! moment. Ever since Brené Brown brought the concept of vulnerability to light for me I have strived to be more vulnerable, but the idea of intimacy being the result of vulnerability- wow! That’s a game-changer and makes perfect sense… but it’s scary!

Intimacy doesn’t just refer to marriage or a physical relationship, it’s the result of anyone fully opening themselves up and letting others take a look into their desires, imperfections and messy life.  It’s loving ourselves enough to confidently express ourselves without the fear of rejection or need for approval. It’s being brave and courageous enough say YES to our passions and the things and people we love, because when you say yes to what feeds your heart, you’re giving others permission to join you. Being and living out exactly who we are is the highest form of intimacy, and that is where real life begins.

One of my favorite examples of vulnerability resulting in intimacy (and personal fulfillment and success) is Jake Worthington. Jake is a true country boy from La Port, Texas and the only thing fancy about him is his authenticity, which is brilliant. In 2013, after not making it past the blind auditions on The Voice, rather than slink away humiliated in front of millions of viewers and assume he wasn’t good enough, he respectfully asked the panel of judges how he could improve. The courageous result was his return in 2014 and finishing second place overall. I don’t know about you, but that kind of boldness inspires me to the ends of the earth and proves there’s only one way to live, and that’s passionately vulnerable so we can share our gifts and have intimate, rich, and meaningful relationships and life experiences. It’s a self-improvement opportunity for all of us and I invite you to watch Jake, witness his passion, honesty, vulnerability and ability to create intimacy. It’s mind-blowing and I love it!

Action Item:
Focus on being more vulnerable in your interactions with people this week,
and notice how much more rich and intimate those experiences become.
And, of course, watch the video below to be inspired by Jake’s comeback performance 🙂

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