Tag Archives: New York City

Celebrate the Magic of Nature

oct-16

Point to Ponder:
How often do you spend time alone outdoors and in nature?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Despite being raised in a rural community in Texas and surrounded by fields of grass, corn, cotton, wheat and maize, it wasn’t until I attended the University of Texas that I realized my love and deep need for nature. As almost anyone who lives or has lived in Austin experiences, at some point or another, Town Lake (a.k.a. Lade Bird Lake) becomes the treasured best friend who hears our prayers, absorbs our tears, and celebrates our accomplishments. While on my runs, she was always part of the cleansing, healing and restorative process that my body, mind and spirit needed. Not only did my time with her boost my confidence, but spending time in and around always enhanced the clarity of my thoughts and vision. In fact, I never left her without a problem solved and/or solution in hand. And, while I knew how much I loved and needed her, it was until I moved to New York City and didn’t have her at my fingertips that I longed for her.

As the quote in the pictures says, Mother Nature has the power to please, calm, comfort and nurture, and in my opinion, she has infinite healing powers too. I believe we have an intrinsic need for her in our daily lives, which is why when I founded iGnite ten years ago, one of our core principles was outdoor group fitness. Over time, and as a result of wanting to grow with our members and provide optimal class experiences, our outdoor-only model shifted to offering indoor classes as well. This is not to say that we didn’t try offering every possible class outdoors, because we did. This included year round outdoor yoga, Pilates and even dance. For example, through trial and error, we quickly found out that yoga at 6:00 a.m. and in 35 degree temperatures was counterproductive. I should’ve known that the body would have a difficult time loosening up while shivering, and despite wearing layers of clothes, gloves and shoes, not being able to feel your fingers or toes makes balancing and downward dog extremely difficult. Thinking back, it seems completely absurd that I ever thought that yoga under such conditions would work, but we were committed to all that Mother Nature had to offer us. And, while offering year round yoga and some of the other classes in nature isn’t ideal (at least in Austin), Mother Nature never disappointed. She was and is consistently consistent with showing off her magic!

As we continue to celebrate iGnite’s tenth birthday, this week I invite you to celebrate the magic of nature and enjoy her life-giving gifts by spending a minimum of five minutes outdoors everyday, alone, and without any device or technology. Just like taking a screaming baby outside immediately soothes he or she, we are no different. Our time in nature is equivalent to pushing the reset button for our mind and spirit, and whether your time is experiencing a sunrise, sunset, the fall foliage, walking barefoot in grass, sitting near a body of water, hiking in the mountains, listening to the birds or going for a walk or jog, it is all grounding and the perfect solution to a busy mind and unsettled spirit. All in all, it’s a very cheap and simple solution that we all need to include in our daily routines.

Finally, in the event you need more evidence why time in nature is essential, check out scientific proven benefits from an article in Business Insider. I don’t know about you, but I could use some serious short-term memory help!!!

  • Improved short-term memory
  • Restored mental energy
  • Stress relief
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Better vision
  • Improved concentration
  • Sharper thinking and creativity
  • Possible anti-cancer effects
  • Immune system boost
  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced risk of early death

Action Item:
Each day this week, spend at least five minutes in nature alone and without technology.


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Member Spotlight: Anne Jarvis

iGnite_AnneJarvisRoots:
I was born and grew up in Houston, Texas. I came to the University of Texas in 1975 and have been lucky enough to have lived in Austin ever since. There is no other city I would rather live in!

Family life:
My husband is Tim, and we met at UT my junior year. We dated four years, married in 1981 and are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary this year. We have two daughters, and the eldest is Mary Catherine who is 29 and moving back home from New York City after living there for seven years. Lizzy is 25, lives in Austin and currently works in business development for Corridor Title. We are really looking forward to all being united in the same city.

Work Life:
My work background was in women’s retailing, which includes sales, being a buyer and store manager. My current involvement in the community is as a volunteer. I serve on the Vestry at Good Shepherd Church and am also co-chair of an event this November called Maj for a Mission that supports Victory School in Uganda.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
The biggest lesson I have learned through iGnite is to keep moving and how important exercise and community is to promote health and wellness in your life. I thrive better in a supportive group atmosphere.

The best advice I’ve been given…
My mother used to tell me one should never wish for someone else’s life because you never know what trials they have faced, are facing or will face. We need to have gratitude for the life we have been given and never assume we know what others are dealing with.

Something people may not know about me…
I lived in Rio de Janeiro as a little girl for three years when my father was sent to Brazil to manage a manufacturing business. Our apartment was one block off Ipanama Beach.

My celebrity look alike…
This is such a funny question to me that I had to respond to provide a few laughs. People have told me I look like the deceased actress Ava Gardner, Lynda Carter, the original Wonder Woman, and Lucie Arnez, Lucille Ball’s daughter. Who knew? A few years ago, an acquaintance told me I reminded her of someone by the way I talked and said it was Robin Roberts. Really???


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Member Spotlight: Melinda Twomey


Roots:

I was born in New York City and raised mostly just outside New York in Englewood, New Jersey. We have lived in Austin for 16 years.

Basic Family Stats:IMG_1621-1
I have been married to Barry Twomey for 26 blissful years, and we are blessed to have four wonderful children: Paul (sophomore at Beloit College in Wisconsin), Margot (sophomore at University of Texas in Austin), Laura (freshman at Trinity University in San Antonio) and Mark (high school senior at AESA Prep Ac
ademy).

Current/Previous Occupation:
After attending Smith College and Columbia School of International Affairs, I worked in New York at several investment banks until retiring to be a full time mom. I currently serve on the boards of Fountain Valley School of Colorado and Tomorrow’s Children Foundation.

Biggest lesson learned through iGnite experience:
The biggest lesson I have learned through iGnite is to try new things! iGnite had literally been on my mind to try for years, but I was just too stuck to my routine. I finally made the leap in April, and the rest is history – thank goodness!

Who inspires you the most and why?
My girlfriends inspire me the most. They are smart, informed, readers of great books, travelers of the world, givers to those in need, sensitive, funny, interesting, fun, loving and humble. How lucky am I?!

In my free time…
I like to travel, hike, ski, read, do jigsaw puzzles, watch Homeland, Downton Abbey and House of Cards, work on my photography skills, spend time with family and friends, and most of all, I love to iGnite!

What is your guilty pleasure?
I only have two guilty pleasures: Chardonnay and Kone coffee (which we actually order from Hawaii).

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Member Spotlight: Lisa Wade

Ignite spotlight - Lisa WadeRoots:
I’m from outside of New York City and came to Austin 19 years ago after living in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 18 years.

Family Life:
Bob and I just celebrated our 30th anniversary. He’s an artist, and we have one daughter, Rachel, who is also an artist and lives and works in Austin.

Work Life:
I’ve worked with Bob in the studio in our home for over 30 years. He does large photo works and public art sculptures (giant boots in San Antonio, the fish at Hula Hut, helmet at Shoal Creek Saloon, etc.), and I take care of everything (He doesn’t email or have an iPhone). I’ve also worked with Prolink Sports & Entertainment for 15 years as the Director of Special Projects and now am Vice President. We produce professional tennis events and music. I’ve worked events with all the top American players all over the country. I was an art critic and writer in Santa Fe, working for national publications, such as Art in America, Arts, and Rolling Stone. When I lived in New York, I worked at the American Museum of Natural History in the Anthropology Department as an archeologist and continued that work at the University of New Mexico. I’ve served on numerous boards and advisory committees for arts organizations and childrens’ charities, including Hamilton College, Austin Museum of Art, Hope Outdoor Gallery, Big Brothers Big Sisters and The Center for Child Protection. I am the founding co-chair of the Buckaroo Ball in Santa Fe and was a co-chair of the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards in Austin.

Biggest lesson learned through my iGnite experience:
As Kathleen says “You can do anything for 30 seconds!”. The wonderful thing about iGnite is that you continue to learn. It has made me mindful of different things every week. It’s about being able to see past your daily experience to find the lesson. Don’t sweat the small stuff but sweat.

Best advice given and from whom:
The best advice came from my father. When I was a little girl and we were standing at a corner in New York, he pointed to the crossing signal and told me “When it says don’t walk, walk.” I guess I’ve been doing that my whole life…stepping off the curb and taking chances.

What people might not know about me:
I can’t snap my fingers!

My favorite color is:
Green! I was captain of the green team at camp and 25 years later my daughter was too.

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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.