Tag Archives: transformation

From Small Beginnings Come Great Things

Aug28_2016

Point to Ponder:
As a result of your time in iGnite, what metamorphosis have you experienced?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

One of my favorite pastimes is looking through photo albums. I can easily spend a nostalgic hour placing myself in each picture and sweet memory. This is often what happens when I look at the picture shown above, as it sits in my office where I can see it everyday.

The picture was taken ten years ago, at iGnite’s first location. While it was nothing more than a concrete slab that once served as a bridge that crossed over Lady Bird Lake (a.k.a. Town Lake), it was ideal because it was overlooking the lake, semi-secluded with a giant oak tree and a perfect size parking lot on 1st street. Back then before boot camps were popular and Austin was not inundated with studios and gyms, our members brought a physioball (a.k.a. udderballs because they had little legs that looked like udders), a set of blue, red and yellow resistance bands and a jump rope. The only class offered was a basic fitness class that I led on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:00 a.m and 8:00 a.m. We had no indoor location so we didn’t retreat inside when it was cold. Instead, we bundled up and never stopped moving. I vividly remember several 6:00 a.m. mornings when the temperature did not rise above freezing, but we were all committed to one another and excited to be outside on the lake, together. It was then that we realized that Austin really did have a winter season. It just happened between 12:00 a.m and 7:00 a.m.

Often times during the 6:00 a.m class it was very dark and runners and/or walkers couldn’t see us coming toward them with our giant udderballs, until they were within a few feet. However during the 8:00 a.m. class, we were unavoidable. We’d skip down the trail laughing with our udderballs lifted high above our heads (don’t knock it til you try it–it’s hard!), and as much as the passers-by would try not to make eye contact, it was impossible. You can imagine the looks we got….but more importantly, there were thousands of smiles exchanged along with “Good Morning!” from our members.

Making eye-contact and saying “Good Morning” to everyone on the trail was actually one of our spiritual and mental exercises. Why? Because while walking and running most people are looking down and it’s uncomfortable to say “good morning” and make eye contact with strangers. However, it was an opportunity for us to stretch beyond our comfort zones and grow. And, in order to be bright lights, it’s important to acknowledge people with eye contact and a friendly “Hello.”

I could go on and on with stories, and maybe at our 10th birthday party on the evening of September 15th (save the date!!), we’ll share our favorite iGnite memories, with one of my personal favorites being with the former First Lady of Texas, Anita Perry, and her secret service detail. Until then, when I look at the picture I think about the Proverb quoted, “From small beginnings come great things”.

My original goal for iGnite was to get as many women as possible to exercise outdoors together and experience the changing seasons and the physical, mental and spiritual healing powers of nature. And, just as our mascot and logo is the Monarch butterfly, the purpose was for everyone to grow and experience a literal transformation, or metamorphosis. The reason why I choose the Monarch butterfly is besides being graceful, gorgeous and free, like I believe all women are and should feel, the life of both a butterfly and a woman is difficult and ever changing. Her metamorphosis from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly is hard and looks painful, but in order for her to become a beautiful butterfly, the process is essential. This is a woman’s life, and in order for us to continue to grow into everything we are designed for, to experience our vast capacity of greatness and contribute to the world, a continual metamorphosis must occur. This transformation is filled with hard work, struggle, challenge, and even heartache, but the gifts along the way as well as who we become are all worthwhile!

It was less than one year from the start of iGnite that a true metamorphosis began to occur in our members. They grew from caterpillars into full-grown Monarchs! They were ready for more challenge, which birthed the start of holding more classes and different locations around central Austin (again–before traffic was a real issue). It seems simple, but changing locations created a greater metamorphosis because along with the new location came an unfamiliar phyisical and mental experience. Change equals challenge and challenge equals growth.

Metamorphosis was occurring rapidly and despite varying our locations, it became obvious that our members needed more beyond just a basic fitness class that I could provide, so I welcomed gifted and passionate teammates, a variety of diverse classes and multiple locations. While iGnite’s beginnings were simple, small and very special, out of them have morphed innumerable wonderful things: lifelong friendships, community, restored health, confidence and purpose. You are doing things you never thought you could or would do, you have made yourself a priority, you are supporting and lifting women up and you are flying!

Regardless of our size or whether or not you’ve been a Monarch for one day, or ten years, our purpose for you remains the same, which is for iGnite to be your metamorphosis springboard so that you can fly into everything that God has created you for, which is undoubtedly for you to do something great and be somebody amazing!

Just as our vintage iGnite video that lives on our website’s About page and was created almost six years ago shows, iGnite is a celebration of life’s blessings–the unknown and the immeasurable beauty that each day brings. iGnite is the power of believing, the power of taking care of yourself so that you can be your very best! iGnite is a way of life. iGnite is every woman. Today is your day! Now is your time to iGnite Your Life!


Action Item:
Within iGnite, what can you do to experience a greater metamorphosis?


You May Also Like:

How Daily Discipline Can Set Your Summer Months Free

Inspiration from the iGnite Archives

iGnite Journal - May29_2016

Point to Ponder:
Where can you exercise daily discipline so you can find greater enjoyment in your summer months?

Amy Younkman

by Amy Younkman

When I first read the quote above several years ago it struck me – I had always thought of discipline as willful containment, or reigning in, whereas freedom represented wide-open, “the sky’s the limit” possibilities. As I pondered this quote and it begin to sink in, I realized it was absolutely spot on.

Within freedom lies the ability for new discoveries and transformation. However, if freedom is not balanced with the right amount of self-discipline, there is no internal container or self-regulation process in place. We have to learn about limitations through self discipline in order to learn about (and earn) the truth about freedom. Discipline requires an intentional commitment to connect with what’s important to us. Over time, practicing daily disciplines, or acts of diligence, earns us our freedom.

For me, the discipline of meeting a best friend at 6 AM to run around the lake 2 – 3 times a week for over 20 years has certainly brought more energy, passion, peace and contentment to my days and to my life, much like an iGnite workout with friends. Every Monday, I discipline myself to do laundry (ugh!), plan dinners for the week, and spend time on my yoga mat listening to my inner advisor and preparing my yoga classes for the week. When I do these things, my family life runs smoother for the week and I enthusiastically look forward to my yoga and Pilates classes with renewed inspiration. No one can give me personal freedom; I have to earn it for myself.

While I love the looser schedules, less structure and vacation days of summer, I also realize I can’t truly enjoy “lazy days of summer” without my personal disciplines in place. In summer I loosen up on some of them, allowing more time for spontaneity and creative escapes. I find if I rise early to workout, get to bed at a reasonable hour, eat and drink in moderation and keep healthy food on hand, I am more apt to be a vital, happy and healthy person laying fertile ground for personal growth and freedom to take root.

As we enter into our summer season, I hope you will join me in creating a loose and less structured summer, while continuing to practice daily disciplines and acts of diligence as this will earn us freedom, health, happiness and even more fun.


Action Item:
Enjoy the loose and less structured summer days, however continue to practice daily disciplines and acts of diligence as this will earn you freedom, health, happiness and fun.


You May Also Like:

Spreading Hope, Love and Joy to the Hopeless

Operation Spread Hope, Love & Joy, Part II

preview-full-kindness

Point to Ponder:
How do you view the homeless or those on the street asking for help?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Sadly, in Austin and in most cities it is common to see homeless, desperate or hopeless people standing at busy intersections asking for help. Despite being advised by law officials and professionals to not give them money, if I have cash, change or any unopened food I always give what I have. And, when I do not have anything to give I get embarrassed and avoid eye contact. Ugh! Definitely not a mature and or compassionate response! I realize that by giving money I could be enabling their pursuit of getting a job or supplying funds for their next possible drug fix, but I don’t know their life story or history so to judge seems wrong and unfair.

Shamefully, there was a time when I didn’t feel this way and my heart was filled with judgement. While I didn’t voice it, when I saw someone asking for help my thought was that they should have more pride and work ethic than to lazily ask for my hard earned money. After all, I grew up with limited financial resources yet managed to work my way through college and make it. Why can’t they? However, several years ago I attended a Caritas luncheon where the co-authors of the book, Same Kind of Different as Me spoke. This experience changed my heart and perspective.

If you haven’t read the book, I encourage you to. Or if you wait until April 2016 it will be out in the theaters. In summary, through volunteering at a homeless meals program in Fort Worth, the co-authors Ron Hall (a wealthy Fort Worth art dealer) and Denver Moore (a literal modern-day hobo) developed a unique friendship. An intense bond was formed and both lives were changed– with Ron’s heart experiencing the greatest transformation. As a result of the book’s message and success, the two men traveled to speaking engagements, with Austin being one of them. Towards the end of the luncheon, Denver, the modern-day hobo and former prison inmate spoke. While he had no formal education, he understood life, the spiritual world, and had a connection with God like I had never seen or heard before. The room was silenced by his compassion, faith and wisdom and while I clung to every word he spoke, it was his advice on whether or not to give the homeless and hopeless money that I will never forget.

Having lived a life of homelessness, desperation and having people look down on him, Denver passionately urged the audience to bypass judgement towards the homeless, as we will never know what they have experienced in life and why they are in the situation they are in. Furthermore, he acknowledged that we’ve all been told not to give the homeless money, however he pleaded that we give what we can, and in doing so respectfully look them in their eyes and smile. Ultimately, he reminded us that we will never know if it will be our dollar, our smile or our words that will be the difference in their life.

After his sincere message, rather than look down on the homeless or beggars, I began to view them, their situation, and people in general with more compassion. I contemplated how I would want someone to treat me, my children, my family, and friends if we where homeless, desperate or falling on hopeless times. Or, if we were just in need of some help, support or encouragement. In doing so I realized how self-righteous and judgemental I had been. Then recently it was upon reading Matthew 26: 34 – 45, verses that I have listened to many times before, that I finally heard and realized how much more I can and need to do:

On His right, he will say; (Jesus) Come here, you beloved, you people whom My Father has blessed. Claim your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of creation. You shall be richly rewarded, for when I was hungry, you fed Me. And when I was thirsty, you gave Me something to drink; I was alone as a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your homes and into your lives; I was naked, and you gave Me clothes to wear; I was sick, and you tended to My needs; I was in prison, and you comforted Me.
Even then the righteous will not have achieved perfect understanding and will not recall these things.
Righteous: Master, when did we find You hungry and give You food? When did we find You thirsty and slake Your thirst? When did we find You a stranger and welcome You in, or find you naked and clothe You? When did we find You sick and nurse You to health? When did we visit You when You were in prison?
Jesus: I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother or sister hungry or cold, whatever you did to the least of these, so you did to Me.
And then He will turn to those on His left hand.
Jesus: Get away from Me, for I was starving, and you left Me with no food. I was dry and thirsty, you left Me to struggle with nothing to drink. When I was alone as a stranger, you turned away from Me. When I was pitifully naked, you left Me unclothed. When I was sick, you gave Me no care. When I was in prison, you did not comfort Me.
Unrighteous: Master, when did we see You hungry and thirsty? When did we see You friendless or homeless or excluded? When did we see you without clothes? When did we see You sick or in jail? When did we see You in distress and fail to respond?
Jesus: I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother hungry or cold, when you saw a sister weak and without friends, when you saw the least of these and ignored their suffering, so you ignored Me.

Despite your faith or belief, the idea that we should treat others as we would want to be treated says it all. And, we have all been given a conscious that guides us and gives us valuable information, which is why I am unable to make eye contact when someone is asking for help and I don’t have anything to give them. I know it’s not right or respectful to not show someone respect and give them the dignity they deserve by simply looking in their eye and exchanging a smile.

As a result, several months ago I began creating baggies of crackers, rice crispy treats, and breakfast bars. And, as of last week I added our printable ‘iGnite spread hope love and joy’ note cards. I keep the bags in my car so that I can have them with me at all times and it truly has made a difference! Therefore, as we continue to focus on spreading hope, love and joy, I hope you will consider doing the same and making care packages that you can hand out when needed. While the person you give the goodie bag and smile to will appreciate your generosity, I promise that your heart will be the one filled with hope, love and joy.

IMG_4106

Goodie Bag Basket

Action Item:
Create goodies bags and fill them with helpful items and the printable iGnite note cards. Keep them in your car and with a smile and eye contact, hand them to the homeless, hopeless or someone in need.

You May Also Like:

STORIES THAT INSPIRE: “Running for my Existence” A Journey to the Boston Marathon

The human body, mind and spirit is capable of anything. Check out the inspirational video and see what happens when you combine a healthy body, determined mind and passionate and loving spirit.  Anything is possible!