Tag Archives: Marianne Williamson

Real Women, Real Stories | Martha Pincoffs: Discovering Self-Love in Order to Shine in Life

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Roots: I am born and raised in Austin. I have left to live in D.C. and Telluride, CO, but I always come back to Austin. This is home.

Family Life: My partner, Jo, and I have two kids. River is 4 years old and Townes is 2 years old.

Work Life: I am the founder of Hot Dang Grain Burgers, a company I started in 2011 and am President of Hat Creek Provisions, a fermented food company. I am on a personal mission to empower people with food!

Martha - HatCreek.jpgMy favorite quote: “You can be scared and brave at the exact same time.” -Brene Brown

People so often speak of “fearless leaders” and that never resonated for me. When I read the quote, it put words to that feeling. Leadership for me is scary sometimes, but trusting myself and the people I surround myself with and doing it anyway.

I’m most inspired by…my kids. I am constantly amazed by their curiosity and joy and resilience. They have such pure, sweet spirits, I can’t get enough of them.

The best advice I’ve ever gotten…Every time I left the house when I was a kid, my mom told me “Be sweet and have fun.” Somewhere along the way those words really soaked in and have shaped me.

Something people may not know about me…I have dreams of being on Broadway!

My guilty pleasure…The Real Housewives of Atlanta

What I’m looking forward to right now…A trip to Tulum next week with Jo.

When I’m not working, you can find me…Playing with my kids, cooking, on the back porch with Jo or riding a bike

My Story: Discovering Self-Love in Order to Shine in Life


My life-changing experience have come in stages. Each one has allowed me to be the most authentic version of myself.

I have changed careers and cities and houses and come-out and had adventures and big belly laughs and plenty of heartbreak and therapy and some of the best friends in the world and found the love of my life. All of these experiences have showed me the way back to my authentic self, held up the mirror for me and helped me sometimes gently and sometimes not so gently get back to myself.


Martha with Jo, her kids and her dad

No single thing has changed me more than becoming a parent. There was all of the sudden this little being (River) in our world and he became the ultimate mirror. I started thinking differently about life and about how Jo and I could raise a kid that is sweet and confident and safe in his own skin. I wanted him to feel the license to be himself.

There was something unsettled in me that I knew needed light. In this time I started meditating, reading Brene Brown and Debbie Ford and I could feel the light shifting in me. One day I was reading Brene Brown’s Parenting Manifesto, probably for the 15th time, but this time it hit a different nerve. In that moment I understood that my kids would never be able to be sweet, confident and safe in their own skin as long as I wasn’t able to give that to myself. That day I stopped drinking and smoking, my favorite coping mechanisms. I started actually liking myself and even loving who I am.

I’ll never forget the moment I was standing by our grill on the back porch and I had an experience where I could feel all of the love people had been giving to me for years that I hadn’t been able to feel. I had known intellectually that I was loved, but I had never been able to hold it. I always felt like I had something to apologize for, something to be ashamed of that made me somehow unworthy. Until this moment and the right relationship and set of circumstances, spiritual guides and tiny humans to care for taught me how to love myself.

Since that day I have been truly free. I don’t wear dresses any more. I don’t hold my tongue when I believe in something. I love my wife-to- be and our kids and the work that I get to do and the people I spend my days with. This lesson in parenting and self-love has pulled all of the parts of me together and I have given myself permission to love every bit of this journey and permission to go out and live the life of my dreams.

View More: http://katezimmermanpictures.pass.us/hot-dang-december-2015The effects of my “self-love” revolution left no stone unimproved. I had already started my company, Hot Dang, at this point, but I was plagued by self-doubt and insecurity in the early days. I didn’t feel like I knew enough about business to be successful, and the truth is…I didn’t, but no-one does when they start something and are immersed in learning. The shift that happened for me in business was profound. I went from a mind-set of who am I to try this, to who am I not to. I have a vision for a healthier place to live and eat and my regret would be NOT doing anything about it. This shift allowed me to boldly do and learn and unapologetically pursue my vision. The trick of living the life of your dreams is not to judge what exists in you or others and go bravely (remember, it is okay to be scared here) forward and live the life that you are meant to live. Whether that is becoming an artist, a therapist, raising kids, starting a company, being the best friend in the world, you are entitled to live YOUR dreams. Who are you not to show us your shine?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson

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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It’s Time to Turn On Your Shine!

iGnite - let your light shine

Point to Ponder:
Are you a light to those around you?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Excitingly, last Tuesday our kiddos (Durant, 4 & Malaine, 2) attended their first week of pre-school in San Diego. You. have. no. idea. how thrilled I was! Not just for me and my own sanity, but for theirs too. I was excited that we could begin establishing a routine, they could start making friends, their world was expanding beyond “mom,” and I could have a little freedom.

The pre-school they are attending is at the church we attend, The Rock, and it’s in an area near downtown called Point Loma. Like all of San Diego (including the neighborhood we live in), it’s full of a very diverse group of people. Ironically, moving to a more diverse neighborhood was actually something that my husband Russell and I considered while living in Austin before we knew we were moving to San Diego. Now, I realize that our interest was more than just coincidence — rather, it was God opening and preparing our hearts and minds for our future environment.

So, Tuesday was their first day of school and it was an exceptional day for all of us. Absolutely, my heart was a bit unsettled and nervous, but I knew it was necessary for feeling grounded, creating relationships and for our overall growth and development. Then on Thursday, after dropping them off and while filling out paperwork in the school, a heavy dose of loneliness blindsided me out of nowhere. As I I looked around, everything felt unfamiliar. I’m just gonna be honest and say it — no one looked like me (how about that “don’t judge a book by its cover” fail!?). Unlike at the Mother’s Day Out my children attended in Austin, I do not have a relationship with the director, the teachers or any of the moms here. Seriously, I was on the verge of tearing up when out of the blue a random woman walked up, noticed my Stronger TogetHER tank [that I was of course proudly wearing 🙂 ] and said, “I really like your shirt! What’s that about?” I perked up and gave her the 15 second description of iGnite, ending with “we are community-based and believe that in all aspects of life, we are stronger togerHER.” She then enthusiastically invited me to join the women’s Bible study called SHINE. Shine – wow!  What an encouraging, happy and powerful word!

That word shine made an impression on me, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. By definition, the word shine means to give out a bright light. As I looked more into ‘shining,’ I was reminded of a sermon I heard by preacher Francis Chan about how a silversmith gets his best, shiniest silver through a process called “testing.” The testing process starts with raw silver in a pot and a fire that is heated to the highest possible temperature. As the silver melts, the impurities rise to the top, at which the silversmith scrapes off the impurities and continues the same process of extreme heat and scraping the impurities off until he or she has the shiniest possible piece of metal — so shiny that they can see their own reflection in it.

What I find remarkable is how this process relates to life and the hardships, stresses, losses, disappointments and discomforts that we all must experience in order to shine. That with the right attitude and perspective, those scary and seemingly ‘unfair’ experiences actually produce maturity, perseverance, faith and wisdom in us so we can shine for others. That’s the part that I was forgetting about on Thursday in my moment of self-pity. I was so consumed by my own discomfort that I was forgetting about my responsibility to shine for others. I had to step outside of myself and my self-pity in order to see the big picture.

Author Marianne Williamson says is perfectly below, suggesting that when we shine, we give others permission to shine:

“Our deepest fear isn’t that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that are more powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, how are you not to be? You are here for a reason! Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It’s in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
– Marianne Williamson

Action Item:
If you are currently experiencing hard or stressful times, just remember, you are going through the testing process so you can shine even brighter on the other side. If you don’t have the energy or even the hope to shine, find someone that is shining and allow their shine to brighten yours.
Or, if life is feeling great and you have plenty of shine to give, in all of your interactions, conversations and even casual passings-by, make it a priority to shine. It’s our responsibility to and for others who are not shining to gain strength from our glow. So let’s shine as brightly as we can so others can be inspired and encouraged to shine as well!

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Daring Greatly #2: Stop Stealing Your Joy!

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.
– Marianne Williamson

Point to Ponder:
When was the last time you experienced “foreboding joy?”

Action Item:
The next time things are going well, stop yourself from thinking or saying anything foreboding the negative, and instead simply be grateful for how good things are.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Has there ever been a time when life was going too well? Sounds confusing, I know, but isn’t it in those sweet times of joy — when family, relationships, health, jobs, etc. couldn’t be better — that we find ourselves having “Oh crap moments,” meaning that things are too good and it’s only a matter of time before our luck runs out and something bad happens? It is at that exact moment that we’ve actually stolen our own joy.

According to Brené Brown, this is called “Foreboding Joy,” which is rather than allow ourselves to fully cherish and appreciate those incredibly blissful moments, we subconsciously go to a non-joyful place (you know, the place where we envision something awful happening to the person or thing that is bringing us joy). This is the way we protect ourselves from getting hurt and becoming vulnerable.

Brené says, “When we lose our capacity to be vulnerable, joy becomes foreboding. We are afraid to lean into joy because we don’t want to be blindsided by vulnerability.” Meaning, we put the brakes on the joy we are experiencing so that we are not caught off guard and can prepare for hard and bad. But, here’s the great news — in all of Brené’s research, there is zero proof that we can emotionally prepare for these times. However, because these “Oh crap moments” are a part of human nature and even the most joyful and emotionally healthy and vulnerable people have them, when they do occur and they counter them with gratitude — i.e. “Thank you for this person, job, moment, etc.“- then they actually keep their joy!

I have to admit, I think this “joy epiphany” is monumental and it blew my mind the first time I heard Brené talk about it. She even went as far as saying that experiencing true joy is our greatest fear, and after hearing her explanation I get it! I in fact caught myself doing it just yesterday. When asked how my previously sick children were doing I said, “Much better, for now at least.” How ridiculous! I could not fully allow myself to experience the joy of having healthy children and was already preparing for the next round of ailments. Or, have you stopped yourself while feeling crazy joy during a vacation and thought or even said, “I don’t want to have to leave and go back to work, normal life, routine, etc?” These are examples of foreboding joy.

I hope you’ll join me in the “stop stealing your joy and start keeping it” quest. Seriously, can you imagine how much more peaceful, present and dare I say joyful we will be if we simply start practicing gratitude (even if it’s forced- hey, you have to start somewhere!) each time we have an “Oh crap moment” or even when dealing with the bad?! There’s no doubt that the universe gives you what you give it, and that what goes around comes around. So let’s think like a child — who never considers the bad — and get grateful and stay joyful. Great things will definitely emerge!

Leave a comment & join the discussion


Life is a Team Effort

Team Effort

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”- Marianne Williamson

Point to Ponder:
Do your surroundings influence your pace and dictate your personality and behavior?
Action Item:
Life is a team effort, so connect, share, and ask for help.

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

After graduating from UT, I decided that Texas was too small. I wanted to experience the “real world,” so I moved to the BIG APPLE!

I was impressed by the fast pace and fascinated by the around-the-clock harmonious honking of horns and the lifestyle of my 11 million new friends. To avoid looking like a tourist, I copied their behavior, rushing through the city with confidence, head down, and avoiding eye contact with anyone. No one was interested in connecting with me. So I became disinterested in connecting with them.

But just as quickly as Manhattan had allured me, so had it come to irritate me. I wanted to make eye contact, to exchange a smile, or to just say hello. I wanted an apology from the man who came within inches of hitting me with his car while I was legally crossing the street. I felt my spirit become cold and jaded. I became less confident and less tolerant. I began to view my 11 million new friends as competition. And I eventually joined their choir and impatiently went about my business.

Then one cold, overcast and gloomy winter day after emerging from the subway station, it became clear: Texas wasn’t too small after all. In fact, it was just right. So I moved back!

Much of my New York City experience was a result of my immaturity and naivety. I wasn’t experienced, strong or courageous enough to “be me” back then (and I was broke). I’d like to think that moving there today would be very different. But when I do visit, I notice the same things: everyone is on a cell phone, listening to an iPod, or otherwise disconnected from the sounds and the people around them.

Now, as Austin is growing, I very often see the same behavior; that everyone is virtually connected to something, somewhere, but unconnected to those immediately around them. What irony that we live in a wonderfully virtually connected world, but are less connected with each other than ever?!?!

I’ll be the first to admit that there are many times when I don’t want to talk, make eye contact, or be connected to more than the Internet allows, but I also notice that too little real connection is addictive and dangerous. I can quickly become absorbed in my own world, unaffected by situations that should move my spirit, and begin to rush through life with little tolerance for others. But once I finally connect, share, ask for help, and become accountable to more than just myself, life becomes so much sweeter, pleasant, and fulfilling. And that gives others the confidence to connect share and shine their brightest light. Life is a team effort.

Regardless of your goals, life obstacles, or celebrations, I encourage you to go about each of them with a connected and team spirit, as this is the BEST way to joyfully get where you want to go and abundantly live life.

Touched By Angels

angel-in-the-sky 5

Angels come to help and guide us in as many guises as there are people who need their assistance. Sometimes we see their ethereal, heavenly shadow, bright with light and radiance. Sometimes we only feel their nearness or hear their whisper. And sometimes they look no different from ourselves. -Eileen Elias Freeman

Point To Ponder:
When was the last time you were touched by an angel or took advantage of the opportunity to be an angel to a total stranger?

Action Item:
Avoid assuming that you or the stranger next to you do not need an angel. Let someone be your angel and experience the intense gifts of love, compassion and humility so that you can enthusiastically pay it forward.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

On Friday, I embarked on my first airplane adventure with my son Durant. My husband Russell’s step-sister was getting married in Wisconsin on Saturday and because Russell was in Orlando for work, he was going to meet us Friday evening at the Milwaukee airport. Our flight schedule would take us from Austin to Kansas City and then onto Milwaukee. I must admit, I was very nervous to travel alone with Durant, however because I have seen plenty of moms do it with multiple children and I advocate for stepping out of comfort zones and trying new things, it knew was something that I could and would do.

To keep things as simple as possible, I checked only one bag and carried on a stroller and tote filled with Play-Doh, toy cars and animals, a slinky, a ball, bubbles, a book, crackers, suckers, diapers, wipes, an extra pair of clothes for Durant, my computer and finally the iPad filled with toddler-friendly apps and cartoons. Needless to say, I was terrified of getting stuck in an airplane or airport and running out of food, diapers or things to keep the busy 18-month old occupied. I needed and wanted to be prepared for anything.

Upon checking in, the Southwest Airlines agent informed me that we would be making a quick stop in Dallas to drop off and pick up passengers, however we would not change planes and would need to stay on the aircraft. So, after a quick and successful first flight, we made it to Dallas without any tears or meltdowns. Life was good, however things were about to get interesting and the 20-lb overflowing goodie bag would soon come in handy while my patience and sense of humor would be tested. (WARNING- THIS IS A FULL AND EVENTFUL STORY!)

As we landed, we were all told to exit the airplane and go to Gate 5, as another airplane would take us to Kansas City. This was a huge buzz kill, as transporting the heavy tote with a 30-plus pound toddler is not an easy feat. So, I confusingly headed to the gate to eventually only learn that we were not going anywhere! In fact, there were several airplanes with mechanical issues and the next available flight to Kansas City would not be until 6:00 p.m. It was 1:15 p.m. and we were not going to make it to Milwaukee after all. Therefore… I found a few empty seats so I could relax, catch my breath and make some important decisions.

As I dropped the bag and plopped down on the chair, I could hear the African American woman sitting next to me giggling and talking to Durant. I was preoccupied and completely unaware of what was happening just one seat away, however I quickly learned that while she was eating a slice of her pizza, Durant became intrigued and proceeded to open her box. I quickly excused him and apologized, however she insisted that he have a piece of her pizza. I didn’t argue and thanked her profusely. Her name was Evelyn and she would become one of my airport angels.

As you would likely suspect, all lines to talk to agents were exceptionally long and I knew my chances of waiting with Durant were less than zero. So as any good mother would do, we headed to McDonald’s and purchased a sandwich, fries, chicken nuggets and a giant Diet Dr. Pepper, as this was the best option in the Dallas Love Field airport and frankly, I would’ve even eaten Taco Bell, Long John Silver or Panda Express. Nutrition was the furthest thing from my mind and all I wanted to do was get settled, eat, and then begin planning our next move. So, we headed back to our seats, where Evelyn was watching our things and quickly became acquainted with several other angels.

For at least the next hour, we made ourselves at home while Durant entertained our seating area. From Bernie, the seventy-plus year old neurologist and father of seven, to a Paula Dean-like endearing grandmother, everyone was off-the-charts awesome and we were perfectly content!

After avoiding the agent line for at least an hour, I finally made the decision to go for it. The line was shorter than before, however it was still too long to stand in with Durant, therefore the very kind woman behind me saved our spot. During this time I chased Durant, literally, around the Southwest counter, where again, I apologized but the agents demanded that I let him continue as long as he was happy. In addition, they loved that he was wearing blue shirt (a Southwest color). After playing chase, he then took interest in my wallet, where he proceeded to take everything out and hand to a nice businessman, another angel who thankfully played along. Then, as fate would have it, an additional angel sat next to me and explained how quickly time goes by and advised me to embrace these sweet times. He was a businessman with children and I could tell he was missing them.

Soon enough, the line angel tapped me on the shoulder to inform me that it was my turn. I gratefully picked up Durant and headed to the counter, which he was eager to climb. The angel agent was both incredible and a professional multi-tasker too. As she stayed focused on explaining my flight options, she also grabbed everything that Durant pulled out of my wallet and handed to her. He was still very into this game and she played right along. To make a long story short (yeah right!), the best option was to take a 6:35 p.m flight back to Austin and scratch the trip. While we could get to Milwaukee, it wouldn’t be until Saturday, which meant we’d have to spend the night in a hotel Friday night, without our checked bag, as it was going to Milwaukee. With only two diapers remaining and every overnight necessity in the checked bag, this was NOT a reasonable option. Therefore, I took my voucher and headed back to the gate where we hung out with our new wonderful friends.

Finally, at 4:00 p.m. Durant fell asleep which gave me the opportunity to relax and get reorganized. This was a delightful time, as it allowed me to get to know everyone and meet two new young men who joined the Gate 5 Family. One of the young men was engaged to be married and couldn’t figure out why his fiancee signed them up for premarriage counseling. We all explained that this was a good decision that he’d eventually be grateful for. The other young man was an identical triplet of three boys and entertained us with his various funny stories.

Love is how you earn your wings. -Karen Goldman

Around 5:45 p.m. it was time to leave our friends. I said ‘thank you’ and ‘good-bye,’ while Durant blew kisses to all of them. It was bitter sweet but I was ready to get home. Very kindly, the engaged angel helped with my bag and stroller while I loaded Durant and headed to Gate 7. We sat next to a middle-aged woman and her husband, whom turned out to be another pair of angels. We said a simple ‘hello’ and she instantly began telling me her story. She explained that her daughter was in an abusive marriage in San Diego and she called that morning to ask if they would pick her up and move her back to Texas, with them. They had been anticipating this phone call for a year and without hesitation they purchased two one-way tickets and drove two hours from Santo, Texas to the airport, where they would fly to Austin and then to San Diego. They were overwhelmed with a variety of emotions and could not wait to rescue her. As we boarded, they offered to help with my bag and stroller and I graciously accepted.

As Durant and I entered the airplane, we found a seat next to young man, the final angel of the day, who kindly greeted us when we sat down. He was a student at Notre Dame, was interning in Dallas for the summer and flying to Austin to visit his cousin. Within forty-five minutes we landed and Durant was on his lap looking out of the window. It was an incredible sight and I thanked the Irish angel. As we exited, I wished the Santo angels good luck, told them ‘thank you’ and ‘good-bye.’ At this point, it was 7:45 p.m. and I was exhausted. We made it home in time to see the USA in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics, which was a treat.

Needless-to-say, I slept soundly throughout the night and woke up Saturday morning to an aching body and a fatigued mind, however my spirit was streaming with gratitude and humility, as there’s no doubt that I had been touched by angels. I felt blessed to have met such wonderful people of exemplary conduct and virtue. I also wondered if they made it to their final destinations safely and were enjoying time with their families.

As horrific as Friday could have been, it was actually one of the single greatest experiences of my life and reminds me of the Liberty Mutual commercial, the video of the week. I’m sad to think that I will probably never see my angels in the airport again, as I’d like to give them all a hug and explain how much I appreciated their kindness and generosity. I would also let them know that I vow to pay their outstanding qualities forward and be especially sympathetic and kind to the next sweaty and desperate mom I see, who is frantically chasing her toddler and on the verge of a mental break down. Life just keeps getting more interesting and humbling and I’m a better person today than I was on Friday, all because I was touched by angels.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION HERE- When was the last time you were thankful for angels among you? 

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