Tag Archives: ignite

Everyone Loves an Invitation

Better (1)

Point to Ponder:
Is there something that you can invite someone to join you in this week?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

Throughout the past 48 hours I feel like I’ve been operating in a deja vu kind of world. I’m not having the same experience over and over again, but I keep getting the same message, so much that I feel like God is trying to plant a seed and tell me something. It’s not new content or a new idea, rather it’s one that I stand firm in and is the foundation on which iGnite was created, but non-the-less, when I get these kind of unsolicited and continuous memos, I feel there’s a reason and I need to share.

For starters, on Friday, after our San Diego iGnite workout I was motivated and excited to take a class at the gym I attend. I had just finished leading a fun, challenging and high-energy outdoor class and was inspired by how awesome everyone did, and I wanted and needed a challenging workout that would leave me feeling mentally and physically strong and confident as well. In addition, given that I had just led a workout, I wanted to turn off my brain and have someone to lead me. So, as I walked in the gym with my almost 4-year old side-kick Malaine, I was greeted with the news that their childcare was closed. Frustratingly, it became quickly apparent that if I wanted to workout, I would have to muster up the discipline to do it on my own–UGH!! As a result, I went home and immediately began the workout. Sadly, I was only able to get half way through it before I threw in the towel. This workout was very hard, but there was no doubt that if I had at least one friend do exercising with me, I would’ve been able to finish. Better Together Reminder #1

Then, on Saturday afternoon I had two, back-to-back phone calls that blew my socks off. One was with the peppy and never-met-a-stranger iGnite member, Mary Carlise Crehorn. Mary Carlisle moved to Austin in August after graduating from Vanderbilt. In November, she just happened to be working out at Mt. Bonnell while Molly was leading our Friday Cardio Blast class, and Molly invited Mary Carlisle to join them. The rest is history. So, as Mary Carlisle and I were talking about how we believe that we were called and created for community, she told me about a fascinating loneliness study by the University of Chicago. In the study, researchers found that loneliness triggers cellular changes that can cause illness. The study was based on adults ages 50-68 and shows that loneliness leads to fight-or-flight stress signaling, which can ultimately affect the production of white blood cells. As a reminder, white blood cells are essential because they are the cells of the immune system that are involved with protecting the body against infectious disease and foreign invaders.

The study examined loneliness in both humans and rhesus macaques, a highly social primate species. The human subjects were participants in the Chicago Health, Aging, and Social Relations Study, a longitudinal study that began in 2002. Previous research from this group had identified a link between loneliness and a phenomenon they called “conserved transcriptional response to adversity” or CTRA. This response is characterized by an increased expression of genes involved in inflammation and a decreased expression of genes involved in antiviral responses. Essentially, lonely people had a less effective immune response and more inflammation than non-lonely people, which increases the risk of premature death by 14%. As we are all learning, inflammation is the common link between such debilitating conditions as Alzheimers, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Better Together Reminder #2

Finally and within minutes of finishing my conversation with Mary Carlisle, I hopped on another call with the wonderful, Jenni Thurow, another iGnite member and awesome substitution leader for us who is currently helping to teach our Wednesday evening Cardio Strength class. Jenni mentioned that her husband was out of town for a few days so it was just she and her dog, Packer. When I asked her how it was being alone, she said, “There are always noises, but when I’m alone, they just sound different.” At that moment I stopped Jenni and said, “Whoa Jenni–that is powerful and so true!” I then shared the conversation that I had just had with Mary Carlisle about loneliness and the need for constant connection and community. Better Together Reminder #3

Feeling alone, isolated and lonely intensifies everything. It makes a workout more challenging, has a negative physiological affect on our body’s immune system–making the incident of disease more likely, and it makes everything seem bigger, scarier and more powerful than they really are.

Regardless of the scenario or whether you are an introvert of extrovert, we all need human interaction and support because that’s how we are designed. And, despite technology’s attempt to replace humans, there is no robot that can adequately do so. We are purposefully created for one another–for human touch, interaction and love, and in his book Love Does, Bob Goff says, “There’s nothing like feeling included, so invite someone to do something with you.” And, as our passionate yoga and Pilates leader, Amy Younkman, often reminds me, “everyone loves an invitation”, and that is so true! How do we know this? We’ve done our own iGnite research. On average, our class attendance increases when you receive an email or text message invitation to attend class from our class leaders. The data is indisputable.

With April being iGnite’s Friends for Free month, I encourage you to invite or re-invite a friend to attend class with you to be part of our special community. We would LOVE to meet them and love on them with you. Here is our designated class days throughout April to bring friends for free:

  • April 3-8: All Monday and Saturday Classes
  • April 10- 15: All Tuesday Classes
  • April 17-22: All Wednesday Classes
  • April 24- 29: All Thursday and Friday Classes

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self confidence and inner-healing.” – Jean Vanier


Action Item:
Invite someone to join you in something this week. 



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Re-iGnite Your Senses

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Point to Ponder:
Are you taking time to be rejuvenated by the spring season?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Just the other day I took a morning walk with a friend throughout the canyon trails in our neighborhood. Due to incredible winter rainfall that San Diego received, from start to finish the hike was bright green with proud and perky yellow and purple flowers raising tall towards the sun. At one point, a little white-tailed bunny hopped in front of us and the birds flying all around were singing loudly. Everything was happy, but after all, it’s spring, the season of opportunity.

As we walked, talked, and commented on the sights, sounds and smells of spring, she suggested that at some point I take the opportunity to close my eyes and let the senses of hearing, smelling and touching become stimulated.

Since receiving her wisdom, twice and at the end of our San Diego iGnite classes and after stretching, everyone has laid down, closes their eyes and become completely quiet. As you would expect and have experienced, laying still, closing our eyes and quietening our minds and bodies is a challenge, but when we did, real magic occurred.

For starters, at our San Diego classes, babies, toddler and preschool aged children come with their mom. We have a babysitter and most often the children play together, however as all children do, they will creep over and want to hang with mom. But on that day all of the children stayed with the babysitter and complete quiet fell over us (the actual real magic), except for a few sweet birds who sang. Then, the cool spring breeze blanketed our bodies. Two, maybe even three minutes passed and upon everyone opening their eyes, I witnessed mental and physical rejuvenation and peace.

The outdoor community exercise was absolutely rejuvenating. Rather than dash onto the next thing, we simply took a few extra still minutes to breathe, reset our body, mind and spirit, reignite our senses and truly tune into the joy of the spring season. Our ability to be renewed and present for what’s next is enhanced and heightened. This is one of the many opportunities of spring!

Throughout this week, I encourage you to take full advantage of the sights, sounds, and smells of spring and let your senses be reignited. Spend some quiet sunny time outside (even three minutes is great), alone and/or after your iGnite class, close your eyes and take a deep breath, exhale and hear, feel and smell the wonders of this season. Rejuvenation, peace, inspiration, clarity, mindfulness and tranquility are among a few guaranteed gifts this season will deliver you.


Action Item:
Spend some quiet sunny time outside (even three minutes is great), alone and/or after your iGnite class, close your eyes and take a deep breath, exhale and hear, feel and smell the wonders of this season.


 

Member Spotlight: Sam McClure

sheep feeding

Roots:
I am a gypsy, having grown up in Brussels, the Philippines and London before moving to the US in high school. In the US, I’ve lived in Connecticut, New York, Boston, Seattle, Miami and Chicago. I’ve been in Austin for 25 years, which is hard to believe given the transient nature of the first half of my life.

Family life:
I’m married to Tim, and we have two magnificent children, Madison (23) and Ian (21).

Work life:
Travel Advisor, owner of Small World Travel

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
I am so inspired by all of the iGnite leaders and have learned that it’s never to late to find your strength.

The best advice I’ve been given…
My family has a motto: “If you never go, you never know.” I’m not sure who started it, but we pretty much live by it.

I am looking forward to…
A surprise (to Tim, I of course have planned every detail) 25th Anniversary trip to Europe in April. It’s a secret, but it involves the Venice Simplon Orient Express train from Venice to Paris.

My celebrity look alike is…
I’ve been told Audrey Hepburn. Not quite sure she’d agree, but she was so elegant and a beautiful humanitarian, that I would certainly like to emulate her.

Quit Something

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Point to Ponder:
What do you need to quit?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Celebration! The first day of spring is tomorrow, March 20th and if there’s a person in the world who doesn’t love the season of rebirth, renewal and regrowth, I’d like to hear from he or she and to try to convince them otherwise. Blooming tress, longer and warmer days, and playful chirping birds are all signs that Spring has sprung and we get to begin again.

While I love the spring season, I actually have an affinity for them all. Having lived in both Austin and now San Diego, two cities who don’t have dramatic changing seasons, I’d argue that the seasons in both of the warmer climates are prevalent enough. They come at just the right time and give us exactly what we need, whether it be more time to rest or more time to play. Really, I feel that the changing seasons are nothing short of miraculous and our Creator knew exactly what we needed, at the perfect time.

Now, as we say goodbye to winter and welcome spring, you don’t have to look long or hard to find a blog post or magazine cover filled with springtime inspiration. Last week, while reading a new book, I too found what I think is the perfect way to start spring–Quit Something!

Recently, my good friend and iGnite member, Catherine Sanderson, recommended that I read Love Does, by Bob Goff. Ironically, Bob lives in San Diego and while I had been encouraged to read his book before I never took action, until Catherine sent me a very persuasive text saying, “Neissa! Do you know a book Love Does and/or Bob Goff? You would be freaking obsessed!” I mean, how can I say “no” to that? In addition, Bob’s whole mission is to inspire people to dream big and make life more awesome. Again, that’s hard to pass up! So, I purchased the book and while I haven’t finished it yet, I have snagged some jewels of inspiration from Bob, like ‘quit something’!

Either Bob doesn’t reveal why or I just haven’t gotten to the part in the book where he goes into more detail, but every Thursday Bob ‘quits something’. After reading this I paused, thought about it and decided it was brilliant! After all, to routinely quit something requires us to regularly stop and evaluate our actions and life, including any pesky bad habits that we’ve picked up along the way. Furthermore, this is one of the gifts of springtime, the season of new opportunity and rebirth. In order for new life to grow, we need to pull the weeds and quit something.

One simple yet big example that Bob used was to quit texting and driving, so don’t feel like you have to quit your job, unless you’re miserable and it’s preventing you from living a more awesome life. You get to choose. And, whatever you decide to quit, if you slip up, no one says you can’t keep choosing that same habit to quit each Thursday.

To get your mental juices flowing, below are 25 examples:

  • Quit saying ‘I’m sorry’ and replace it with ‘Thank you’. (Ex. If you are late to a function and everyone waited on you, rather than profusely apologize, greet your group with “Thank you so much for waiting on me!”. Though there’s nothing wrong with a sincere apology and many times they are necessary, women tend to over apologize. Plus,gratitude is always the winner)
  • Quit complaining
  • Quit wishing, waiting, over thinking and doubting yourself
  • Quit comparing yourself to others or who you were yesterday
  • Quit talking
  • Quit the glorification of being busy
  • Quit being late
  • Quit eating on the go or in your car
  • Quit going to bed past 10:00 p.m.
  • Quit being a consumer of things
  • Quit saying anything negative about yourself or others
  • Quit worrying and being afraid
  • Quit looking at social media
  • Quit drinking soda
  • Quit using the word “like”
  • Quit using your phone while enjoying a meal with other people
  • Quit doing at least one thing for your kids
  • Quit settling in relationships
  • Quit yelling
  • Quit reading gossip magazines
  • Quit eating fast food
  • Quit saying “yes”
  • Quit saying “no”
  • Quit looking at your phone before bedtime
  • Quit trying to gain the approval of others

As you can see, there is so much healthy quitting that we can do in which new life can grow. It’s the inspiration and promise of the gorgeous spring season of opportunity! When one unfruitful door closes, a fruit-bearing door always opens.


Action Item:
Each week, quit something that isn’t helpful, necessary, and/or is dangerous and preventing you from living your dreams and an awesome life.


 

 

Member Spotlight: Carol Reifsnyder

IMG_0160Roots:
I am originally from Lubbock, Texas. I attended the University of Texas where I met my husband, Andy. We moved back to Austin in 1992, a time when Mopac had no cars and the hills had no houses.

Family Life:
My husband is a radiologist and has been the Chief at Breckenridge Medical Center for a long while. We have two children, my daughter, Erin, who works at a hotel in Brooklyn, and my son, Emery, who recently graduated from Tufts and now works in technological mapping in San Francisco.

Work Life:
I am just finishing a long (4 year) capital campaign to restore and renovate a National Historic Landmark sorority house near campus. I have some ideas about where I would like to go next, but I plan to take a break for a while and get back in shape.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
Women derive strength from being and working together. I feel like I work harder when working out with iGnite ladies. I’ve got to work to keep up!

The best advice I’ve been given…
The best advice I have been given is from my Brazilian scuba instructor way back in college. I still use his instructions today when dealing with a crisis. Per my instructor, the two most important rules of scuba are:
Always stay with your buddy. I use this symbolically at work as in “always have the back of/always support your co-workers and employees”. For my family, I use it to stay present and attentive to their needs and issues. And for my ailing mother, I use it to diligently advocate for her at times when she is vulnerable.
Stay calm. Don’t panic. I learned the hard way that if anything can go wrong, it will! I am a planner by nature so I constantly try to consider all the possible scenarios before I act. Now, if things do go astray, I don’t sweat it much anymore. I just stay calm, refocus, reconsider and get to it.

What I’m looking forward to right now…
Getting comfortable with and enjoying this “kids out of college and employed stage”. I have always been so excited for what lay ahead for my kids that I rarely
felt too sad moving on down the path beyond key milestones. Now, I feel like it is time to discover and create some milestones for myself. My work raising them is actually over. Don’t get me wrong; it often makes me sad to think back on those years that went by so quickly and in such a blur. The good news now is I get to be the “friend” or “advisor” or “supporter” instead of the strict “rule following” parent.

If I were a pair of shoes…
I would love to be a pair of bike cleats. Riding a bike brings back that pure sense of “joy” not felt much in life as an adult. In fact, research confirms quite simply that cycling makes people happier. In my opinion, the bicycle is one of the world’s greatest inventions – simple in it’s design, easily mastered and inexpensive – a means of play, exercise and transportation. In the 1900’s the bike gave women unprecedented mobility; women essentially rode the bicycle to freedom. Susan B. Anthony once said, “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” The bike allowed women to venture about without chaperons, liberated them from corsets and cumbersome skirts, provided them a healthier, more vigorous existence, and expanded their marriage pool (no more having to marry your cousin down the street). Today, strolling through street and parkways on a bike is one of the best ways to tour/see an area. Walking doesn’t cover enough territory and cars move too quickly and provide too big of a barrier from the environment. Even cycling excursions around Austin often stun me with the beauty of our Texas Hill Country. As a pair of cleats, my life would be outdoors, healthy, happy, adventurous, fun and even spiritual. So, make me a pair of old beat-up bike cleats any day. See you on the road!

It’s Never Too Late

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Point to Ponder:
Is there something that you have been putting off that you have been wanting to do?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Like me, I’m guessing that prior to last Thursday you had never heard of Orville Rogers. It wasn’t until iGnite leader, Alli Phillips, sent our team a video of Orville, at 99 years young man racing and beating his 92 year old competitor in the 60 meter sprint during the Masters Indoor Track Championship that I learned who he was. The now viral video is certainly inspiring, but on Saturday morning, while doing my mundane weekend laundry folding and listening to the national news, I saw an interview with Orville and heard his hardly mundane and impactful story.

In this 3-minute interview, Orville revealed that as a result of reading the book Aerobics by Kenneth Cooper when he was 50-years old, he began running. Incredibly, in the almost 50-years that Orville has been running, he has logged over 42 thousand miles! When asked about his workout routine, he said that 3 times a week he warms up with a lot of stretching and time on the Elliptical machine followed by slowly running 3 miles. Even more impressive are the 2, 100 meter wind sprints that he tops off his 3-miles with. In addition, he strength trains, eats fish and chicken 6 days a week, red meat 1 day, and plenty of colorful fruits and veggies. He also added that he takes a daily multivitamin and gets a physical once per year at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. When asked what gives him his spiritual edge, he said he believes in God, considers himself blessed and has a wonderful family who he plans to celebrate his 100th birthday on November 28th with after he participates in the Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championship this summer in Baton Rouge. His motto is “You don’t stop running because you get old. You get old because you stop running.”

Every bit of this World War II pilot and world record holder’s story is inspiring, but the part that made the greatest impression on me was that he didn’t begin running until he was 50 years old, which is typically when people end their running routine. In addition, he sees his commitment to his health as a means of honoring his temple so that he can serve to his greatest ability. Furthermore, when he was 90 years old old he went skydiving for the first time and at 93, he went hang-gliding.

Besides the word “stud”, there’s only one other set of words that best describes Orville and that’s a fearless go-getter. That being said, I really wonder which came first–the chicken or the egg? Was Orville born eager and fearless or did his life experiences create a can-do fearlessness spirit in him? Did he become this was after surviving World War II and flying for many years as a commercial pilot? I guess we’ll never know, but I can’t help but think that environment has something to do with it, as his “go for it” attitude was a part of his daily life and it continues to be.

While some fear and hesitation is healthy, by in large, fear really ticks me off because I believe that most of it is bogus, irrational and unfortunately, grows with age. Research from the National Institute of Mental Health found that 60% of the things we fear will never come true; 90% of the things we fear are considered insignificant; and 88% of the things we fear about our health will never happen. As this relates to our daily lives, fear and not being willing to “go for it” single-handedly prevents us from trying new things, creating new relationships, exploring new careers, and therefore living the big and bold life that I believe God created us to live. Ultimately, it undermines faith and puts God in a box.

When making the bold decision to regularly put ourselves our there and go for something we’ve been putting off or have told ourselves we can’t do, it will be deliciously terrifying. However, just as passing up opportunities is addictive, so is going for it and saying “yes”!

No one knows, at least I haven’t found it in an article or heard in an interview, if Orville Rogers was nervous or hesitant to go on his first run. I assume he considered that it would be uncomfortable, probably hurt and he likely would not be able to complete the whole distance. None-the-less, his decision to go for it at 50 years old has now bloomed into him being a 99 year old You Tube sensation who is getting to share his inspiring story on television and on the internet and making the case that no matter how old we are, if we want to do something, we should go for it!


Action Item:
Pick something that you have been wanting to do, take the first step and and go for it!


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What I’ve Learned About Setting A Healthy Boundary

feb26_2017

Point to Ponder:
Is there an area in your life where you can benefit from adding a healthy boundary?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Several weeks ago I let Martha Lynn Mangum, iGnite member and my professional coach, know that I wanted to take the week of February 20- February 24 off. My children had the week off from school for what’s called Ski Week. No, this isn’t Spring Break, as that’s not until April. Ski Week is just a random week off designed to torture parents. HA! Really, I have no idea why, but my guess is with the President’s Day holiday, families were taking extra long weekends to go to skiing and as a means to avoid losing money (from the state), the district decided it was best to extend the school year and give the students the whole week off.

All that to say, I wanted to commit the entire week to spending time, having fun and fully focusing on Durant and Malaine, something I shamefully don’t allow myself to do or give them, ever. With the exception of a Saturday or major holiday, I am a slave to my email and anything work related takes precedent. If I’m not physically working, my brain is consumed with it. I’m a work-a-holic and am horrible at setting work-related boundaries. The result is that I spend much of my time multi-tasking between the needs of my family, household and work. On the outside looking in, it might appear that I am cool, calm and collected, but on the inside, I’m a mental mess. I, like most women, am a great multi-tasker, which I think is helpful and likely a God-given gift to women. During multi-tasking moments, I often experience an adrenalin high but I also feel like I am in a constant state of intellectual frenzy. Meanwhile, taking legitimate and real time off never occurs to me. Why? Because I don’t know how to.

As I spoke to Martha about what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it, I expressed that I just wanted to just hang out with the kiddos. I wanted to give them my undivided attention and not put them on hold, like I frequently do. I also wanted to be fun, and not the crazed mom that I often become when I am striving to accomplish too many things at one time. And yet, as I discussed this with Martha, taking a full week off felt daunting because getting behind on emails and work didn’t seem worth it. Furthermore, with family and hard work being two of my core values, taking time off I felt as though I was not being a supportive team/family member to the iGnite team and family and it just feels wrong not to work!

As you are reading, you are likely seeing my own hypocrisy and wanting to shake me while screaming, “Isn’t taking the week off so you can spend time with your children/family in complete alignment with your family core value?” Of course you are right, but my deranged brain couldn’t see that. And, to exploit my hypocrisy even more, Martha reminded me that even though I always support and encourage our amazing iGnite team to take time off, (because I truly believe we all need it and are energized after a good break and extra fun) by not walking my talk I am non-verbally communicating that I really don’t expect them to take time off either. NOOOOO that’s not true, but clearly I’m being a hypocrite!

Realizing that I was being a total phony sealed the deal, so with Martha’s coaching (because I really didn’t know how to take time off), she directed me on the simple steps:
1). communicate my plans to our team, and 2) to set an email vacation reminder so when someone emailed me and I didn’t respond, they’d know that I I wasn’t ignoring them and I’d get back to them after my time off. And so, I followed Martha’s instructions and last Monday morning I began my week off. As a result, here’s what I learned:

I have very unhealthy work boundaries which are all self-induced, and even though I am deeply passionate about iGnite and it feeds every ounce of my body, mind and spirit, it is essential that I step away, just as I would advise our iGnite team and/or any mom to do from her family, despite her intense love for them.

In addition, taking the week off was the single greatest gift I could have given myself and my family–we had a blast! Because I set my email vacation reminder I didn’t feel obligated to check my email, or guilty or irresponsible for not responding. Was I perfect, no, as there were a few times when I needed to check on time-sensitive items, but I felt zero urge to check my email. All in all, I can’t give myself an A+, but I do give myself an A-. Now that I’ve officially taken time off and know how to, I’ll be able to do it better next time and the next time.

What I’ve learned in life is that I’m never alone in anything, and if I have a difficult time setting boundaries, then it’s likely that someone else does too. There’s no doubt that setting healthy boundaries around work can be tricky for anyone, but in particular for women, I think when it comes to our family, friends, volunteering, and just doing and giving to people in general (as I feel in iGnite), keeping healthy boundaries is as tricky as walking a tightrope. Honoring and keeping our personal and family-time separate and sacred, even from things such as social media, technology, television, and the plethora of activities and opportunities that vie for our attention is a real challenge, but its necessary. In the words of Susan Biali, Life Coach and Medical Doctor, she says it best in her article from Psychology Today titled, “7 Ways to Protect Your Energy & Enforce Healthy Boundaries”, you are here for a reason, and we need you to be at your best. We need you to be rested, and to have time available to do what you were put on this earth to do, no matter how big or small. You need time for you and for those you love most, in order for you to be happy and healthy and a blessing to all of us. This is really important, it isn’t selfish. Guard your life energy, it’s the most important currency you have.”


Action Item:
Establish a healthy boundary in an area in your life, and focus on it for a week. If need be, ask for guidance and find an accountability partner. At the end of your week, evaluate your progress and determine what, if anything, changed for you.