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Posts Tagged ‘successful women’

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Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach is a wonderful book I’ve had for many years and I still take if off the shelf every now and then because there are so many beautiful kernels of wisdom and inspiration.   Just this week, I picked it up and  randomly opened it to the page for February 12 … Once Upon a Time You Trusted Yourself. I was so touched all over again that I wanted to share this idea with you.

“Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.”
– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

“Today, try to find a picture of yourself when you were about ten … travel back in time … age ten was probably the last time you trusted your instincts … Try to contact the girl you once were.  She’s all grown up now.  She’s your authentic self and she’s waiting to remind you how beautiful, accomplished and extraordinary you really are.”

In preparing for our upcoming Life on Purpose Retreat our team was looking for just the right image of a woman filled with purpose and inspiration.   It wasn’t as easy as it should have been, but we finally chose this beautiful photograph.  We felt the power and saw the beauty.   Looking closer, we realized it wasn’t a woman, but a girl.  At that age when we were still so sure of our own power, before we gave it away or hid it.   At Flourish we’re out to reclaim that power for ourselves once again.  Fearless, feisty, fabulous, flourishing.  Come join us!

“Perhaps loving something is the only starting place there is for making your life your own.”  Alice Koller

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“An amazing life requires connection”.  So says Loretta LaRoche in her wonderful book “Life is Short-Wear Your Party Pants”.  iStock_000005341958XSmallIn this crazy-busy world, we can get so caught up running in five directions at the same time, that even when we are with the people we care about most, we’re probably multi-tasking three different things.   Sometimes we forget how important it is and how nurturing, to be fully present when we are with our family, friends, co-workers or the person we meet standing in line.  Take time to make the connection.  Our fellow human beings are our companions and our community.

If life is to be a party, then we need to share the singing, dancing, chatting and laughing with those around us.  Loretta tells us that the more people we draw into our lives…the more interesting, varied, lively and fun the party will be.  I don’t know about you, but I always love a great party.  Especially the kind with funny hats and noisemakers.

Connect with kindness, compassion, empathy and good humor.  Life is truly worthy of a celebration.

Here are ten easy ways to start connecting (or re-connecting) today.

1.  Smile and share eye contact with the person in the elevator or behind you in line.

2.  Give someone a compliment – and mean it.

3.  Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time just to say hi.

4.   Spend time talking with your family during dinner.  Bring back the family dinner table.

5.  Start a conversation with the person behind the counter at your coffee shop.  Learn something about them.

6.  Call your mother!

7.   Invite someone you just met to lunch.

8.  Give a gift for no special reason other than you think the recipient would enjoy it.

9.  Tell people how much you appreciate them and what they do for you.  Go out on a limb here – your mail carrier, a fireman, your child’s teacher.  Make their day!

10.  Be thoughtful.  Hold the door and smile to the person behind you.  Let someone merge in traffic.

We are all in this together.  How much nicer a world this would be if we could all remember that.

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iStock_000004638277XSmallWe’ve been so busy enjoying these first beautiful days of Fall and then it hit us.   Yikes!  Fall!  Already!  There are only 90 days left of this year!  Where has 2009 gone and oh, by the way, where are we with all our goals and resolutions?  Hmmmm. Yep, we admit it, we might have lost our focus.  And what about you?   For many of us this has been a year of just hanging on.   Right or wrong, we’ve been a little hesitant to stretch too far out of our comfort zone, take too many risks.

Here’s a thought… since we do have 90 days left, let’s just pick ourselves and that list of goals up, dust them off, and get going.   Take another look at that list.  Do your goals still feel right?  Maybe some need to be tweaked or removed altogether?   But, here’s the point…instead of thinking “too late for this year” and crawling back under the covers, why not think about what you can still create?  Now…while it’s still 2009.

Ask yourself “What one thing can I do right now?”   Start with something small and then DO IT.   Then ask the question again and you’re on your way.  It really is easy and it really does start with taking the first step!

Here’s another great idea.  Start getting your ducks in a row now and make 2010 your breakthrough year.   

Register for the  Life on Purpose Retreat.   We guarantee you’ll get those duckies lined up and paddling into high gear.

Life on Purpose Retreat FINAL Postcard FRONT-1


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deandra-retouched-whimsyDeandra is a role model for flourishing women!   She’s an amazing creative spirit with a courageous heart and a wicked sense of humor who celebrates life and lives it fully each and every day.  We asked her to share just a few of the more interesting moments of her life so far and here’s what she told us…

I’ve sold lingerie, worked a suicide hotline, was a barmaid at a Renaissance festival, read tarot cards and performed as a belly dancer. I have also been a wife, mother, feminist, artist, minister, writer, ritualist, teacher—the list just keeps growing! I follow my passions and have become a collector of experiences. I’ve never been content to let life come to me…maybe because I’m impatient, or maybe because I’m a bit of a control freak.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer helped bring this pattern into sharp relief. Prior to the diagnosis I thought I was searching for something in particular…and after the diagnosis, I realized that I was just searching. I like the act of exploring…I like my passions and they don’t have to “be productive” or have a point. I can just enjoy them.

Giving myself the freedom to play and to follow my interests has led me to reimagine both my life and my work. My current list of things that tickle my fancy include being a part of Pink Phoenix dragon boat team, organizing the super cool annual Clan Mothers Retreat on Halloween weekend, becoming a filmmaker, anything to do with PhotoShop, and the color pink. You might think I would be tired of pink considering it’s association with breast cancer, but in fact, I actually like pink more since my diagnosis. I’m working on a photography project about the color pink…can’t wait to see what I come up with! Check out my blog to see some of the projects I’ve been working on…http://dillydally.demicaro.com.

My new business, Butterfly Underground, is still underground so to speak. In a few months you will be able to see it take flight. Stay tuned!

Who is my hero? I have to admit that I adore Nancy Drew and Wonder Woman! If I could be an Amazon Princess (with cool go-go boots) and a popular detective, I would be ecstatic!

What is my favorite quote? I love quotes and picking just one is practically impossible. The one that makes me laugh is “The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’ is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was ‘involved’ but the pig was ‘committed’.”

What keeps you flourishing? Taking time in between projects to rest and renew. I tend to keep busy, so I greatly enjoy curling up with a book and a cup of tea and just relaxing.

If I were a pair of shoes… I would be a pair of Candies (fabulous heels that I wore in high school). They were made of wood candies-shoes and leather, substantial and yet sexy. And they made the greatest tapping noise when walking!

I can’t wait to… I can’t wait to launch the Betty Society, a not-so secret, secret society that I created 6 years ago and now want to take public (sort of!) It makes me giggle, and that’s enough for me.

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marian

Marion

An artist, teacher, public speaker and ceremonial priestess, Marian’s passion and mission is to change the way we face death.  She is the founder of a unique and timely new business , A Fine Farewell, that produces beautiful handmade burial and cremation shrouds.

We were truly fascinated by her story and knew you would be too, so we convinced Marian to take a little time out of her busy schedule to sit down and share her journey with us.   Here’s her amazing story in her own words…

“Once, in my twenties, a friend said ‘what if you could live your life in 10 year increments?’   We all thought about that for a while, wondering how it would work, what we’d have to give up, what we’d gain.  It was a ‘romantic’ idea in my twenties, but I was happily partnered with a small child and didn’t see how it would be applicable to me.  (The friend who’d originally posed the idea had neither partner nor children).    Still the idea stayed in my mind.    Fast forward to me now, at 55.  While it hasn’t been exactly  ten year increments,  I have, in fact, had a few different ‘career changes’ since then.

At 19, after Catholic grade school, high school and catholic college, I took a giant “left turn”, picked up a hitchhiker (I’d NEVER done that before!) and fell in love.   I quit school -and my plans to transfer and get a degree in drama, (hah! ‘drama’ was when I told my parents!’).  I moved into a hippie commune with my love.   I got pregnant, had my daughter at home, immersed myself in the studies of parenting, metaphysics, art, wicca, macrobiotics, herbal remedies, transactional analysis, natural foods cooking and general ‘groovitudinous’ living.

I had a great run with that but it fell apart in 1990-91.  Leaving my marriage, and moving to a small rural women’s community was a pretty big shift.  But there was an inner voice prompting this – a voice which I have come to recognize and trust.  (in retrospect, it was that same one that shifted me to the side of the road to pick up that hitchhiking hippie)  It always asks me to do things I can barely even think of, much less speak, but it’s quietly persistent and when I follow it, the world opens up in ways I couldn’t imagine.   (this does not preclude the 4:00 a.m. terror visitations….but I’ve learned to ride them out.)    My daughter decided to stay with her dad.   That was hard to ride out but it was the best option, given all the factors at the time.  It was a culturally ‘unsanctioned’ choice.  More lessons…and we got through our rough patch.   My 33 year old daughter and I have a wonderful relationship now.

After living at the women’s community, founding a Women’s Temple and running seasonal ceremonial events, that voice began to whisper again.  I couldn’t believe what it was saying.  “Move across the country, find a new home.”   “Get out of here!” was my response. But it was persistent.  And after several months, things at the community came undone and I could see it was time to go.

My two month trip across the country turned into a 10 month camping odyssey!   I learned that magic happens when I give up some of my agenda.  I also discovered, to my delight, that people really do want to be friendly, to be helpful, to assist a traveler along her way.   I landed in Ashland, Oregon and stayed for a time, fell in love and out of it, traveled to England for a long meditation retreat, and stayed on to work in the meditation center.  Then I got the idea to move to a community in Italy.   It was an artistic and spiritual community near the Italian Alps.   I spent a total of 7 months there, immersed in a ‘nucleo’ (family unit) with 9 others, 8 of whom  spoke little or no English.  (immersion language training!)  But no matter how I tried to shift the path I’d come to know— my wiccan/goddess/earth-based path — to fit into their teachings, ultimately it just wasn’t right for me.

Returning from this voyage, in 2001, I was exposed to the idea of “Natural Death Care” and the resonance I felt with these ideas led me to begin designing burial and cremation shrouds.   It’s been a long and meandering path but things are coming together nicely now, as the culture finally embraces the ‘green movement’.    I moved to Portland and am part of an awesome women’s entrepreneurial organization, The Savvy Collaborative, which has made all the difference in helping my business to grow.  I’m taking on more challenges with an art installation called “Over My Dead Body…Opening the Portal” (www.milepostfive.com) and an upcoming class called “Over My Dead Body…Creating a Sacred Burial Garment” .   Yes, I think you could say I’m “Flourishing”.   Writing about it helps me to stop and appreciate where I’ve been.”

We were dying to see what Marian’s thoughts were on our five famous questions.  Here’s what she had to say…

Who is your hero? My Hero…hmmm.   I have “serial heroes”.   Heroes  of the moment.   I’m inspired by people all the time and carry someone’s quote or actions in my mind for a period of time, emulating them.  So let’s see , who’s “up” right now?  I think it’s my friend ross.  (spelled  all in lower case)   She inspires me for her absolute commitment to trusting and following her heart… which has led her all over the world!  Also I admire her relentless intention to ‘find the gift’ in each situation.  She’s a great companion on the path, and a good support in remembering the power of words, reminding me to let go of old habits of diminishing speech and use my words to create my experience.  When we talk, I always come away feeling blessed!

What is your favorite quote? This changes over time, too, but a ‘repeater’ these last several months is: “Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.”   It’s from a poem called ‘The Mad Farmer Liberation Front’ by Wendell Berry.   I think I like most its implication of choice– the idea that one can choose to “BE” joyful.  And at the same time, it’s also like being given permission.  You know sometimes you get ‘down’ and then it’s hard to get back ‘up’ because it’s like ‘betraying’ your downer!  We get attached to the apparent ‘truth’ of our discouraging thoughts!  (aren’t we precious??)  This quote ‘busts’ that and says, “well ok, even if things are ‘as bad as all that’ – you still get to go ahead and be joyful! “

What keeps you flourishing? Dance!!!  Dance!!!   Connection with others (on or off the dance floor).   Making art for no reason.  And lastly, the fact that I am old enough to see that people can, and often do change.  Even the most stubborn situations or habits in my very own life have actually shifted with my own diligent attention.  This is huge, really.  This is something I just couldn’t know without being as old as I am.  So I am valuing myself at 55, for being 55…for the perspective it brings.  And did I say DANCE!

If you were a pair of shoes, what kind would you be and why? Shoes….hmmmm….  I always wear such dang sensible shoes…but  I’d love to be (and wear) a pair of handmade funky high heels…the kind with the heel not too high or too ‘skinny’.  Asymmetrically styled, two toned green and purple leather with an ankle strap.  And they’d be so comfortable that I could dance all night in ‘em.   Yeah…that’s it.

I can’t wait to… do more teaching and public speaking.  And to get my new class filled and begun!  It’s called “Over My Dead Body…Creating a sacred burial garment” !!    Starts Sept 3 runs for 8 weeks.    I also can’t wait ‘til we ALL can lighten up about Death!

Thanks Marian, we know you will “knock em dead” with all your creative endeavors!  If you would like more information about Marian’s upcoming workshop Over My Dead Body, creating a sacred burial garment, you may reach her at afinefarewell@yahoo.com or find more information on her website www.afinefarewell.com

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Sarah & Apollo riding in Ireland

Sarah & Apollo riding in Ireland

Sarah Hahn is passionate about making a difference.   A little over a year ago, she joined a company, Humanity Unites Brilliance (HUB), who’s goal is to move the world from survival to self-empowerment to sustained abundance.  Through this new venture she is a partner in “creating a new paradigm connecting for-profit business and individuals with non-profit service”.  HUB has already supported non-profits with over one million dollars and each month through the HUB network Sarah’s individual contributions feed and educate 9 children, provide part of a well for a village and fund a portion of a micro-loan for women owned business.  And they’re just getting started!

In addition to a passion for helping people around the world, Sarah is passionate about horses.  She was riding horses before she could walk, in fact as a child she spent more time with her horses than her peers.   From the tender age of eight, Sarah was “hauled around” by her ever-supportive mom with horse trailer in tow going to all kinds of horse events and competitions.  Jumping was her favorite and she still holds the dream of competing in an Olympic equestrian event.

But wait, there’s more!  Sarah designs and sells fair trade jewelry with a friend through their business Alexandra Imports.  They work with women artisans in India and sell their beautiful jewelry at very reasonable prices with ten percent (10%) of their sales going to charities benefiting women and children in India.  Oh, and don’t forgt the cookbook!  Sarah is creating and writing  a “Gluten-Free & Good For You” baking book. “I love baking. Even more than baking, I love eating the baked goods” she says.   Her recipes are good for your body AND they taste like heaven!

We were curious just how one woman can juggle so many projects successfully?   “I am an idea person,  I have lists of hundreds of ideas from books to games to new school systems…I think one thing that life is about for me is freedom of expression- being able to step out and express my idea or desire or thought no matter how impossible or crazy it may seem. I am in gratitude for this.”

Here’s what we know for sure…this delightful young woman will be dreaming and making a difference and flourishing for many years to come!

Who is your hero? My horse Sister. I have been with her for 21 years and she has taught me incredible lessons about being authentic, trusting the bigger picture and especially about forgiveness.  She has refined my skills in working with energy & acting on intuition. More than once she has taught me the seemingly harsh lesson of humility- those were tough.  Mainly she is constantly reminding me to see with my heart and to enjoy the journey.

What is your favorite quote? “We are part of the whole which we call the universe, it is an optical delusion of our mind that we think we are separate. This separateness is like a prison for us. Our job is to widen the circle of our compassion so we feel connected with all people & situations” by Albert Einstein. This is life for me. The game of remembering we are all connected while juggling these forms of time, space & mass.

What keeps you flourishing? When I wake up each morning I figure there must be a reason I am alive today, so lets go find out what that reason is!! As an added bonus, I get to play this lifetime with an amazing, fun-loving man who supports me in my dreams- thanks Lester!

If you were a pair of shoes, what kind would you be and why? A pair of Italian, hand-made sandals with cork form-fitting soles & red bamboo fabric ribbon-wrap tops that tie just above the ankle.  A unique piece of hand-made art that is responsible with the use of sustainable materials, yet has enough flare and flexibility to celebrate life and dance the salsa as the sun goes down!  (She surprised us!  We were sure it would be a great pair of  pink cowboy boots.)

I can’t wait to… own our first farm of 80 acres where we will build our first yurt – off the grid of course!

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“But, I just don’t find myself that interesting!” That’s what we heard when we asked Gabby to be our Flourishing Friend for May.   Excuse us, but we beg to differ and you will too, when you learn how this amazing woman turned one of her life’s gabbyandnatashacraterlakesaddest moments into a vision that is truly making a difference for women everywhere.  Her business is booming these days – Go girl! – but she took a few minutes to chat with us about what makes her a flourishing woman.

Growing up a Military Brat really helped Gabby understand “we are all in this together!”  It takes all kinds to make up this world and that, for Gabby, is what make’s the world a more interesting place.

Born in Germany, she lived most of her life in Georgia until making the move to Oregon several years ago. And, by the way, she thinks Crater Lake is the most beautiful place on earth.   Gabby worked many less than inspiring jobs, but when she took a real estate course as a college elective, she was immediately hooked.   “I could not believe you could buy a home, live there and enjoy it, write off the interest on your taxes and then sell it and keep the profit (most of the time).   I thought why isn’t everyone doing that?  I need to help people do this!”  That was the beginning of her real estate career and Gabby has never looked back!  Sixteen years later she owns her own successful company, Realty Solutions and the profits helped fund her true life passion, the non-profit she started, Jessica’s Hope.

Jessica’s Hope was founded in honor of her mother who lost her life after a 5 year battle with Ovarian Cancer .   Her focus is on raising awareness and money in the search for a test for ovarian cancer.  Gabby wants everyone to know that there is currently no definitive test for ovarian cancer.  Therefore most women get diagnosed in the late stages of the disease.  There is a 90% survival rate with early detection.  Her passion shines through when you talk with her – she’s a woman on a mission!  Gabby funds all administrative costs for Jessica’s Hope through her real estate company so that 100% of donations go to The Ovarian Cancer Institute at Georgia Tech where they are looking for a test.

The Jessica’s Hope website is a great resource for information, inspiration and support.   They also have a very creative on-going fundraising program.  Make a purchase through the online store from one of their great partners and a percentage every purchase goes directly to support the organization.   You can also use the portal to shop at places like Amazon.com and they will give a portion of your purchase price back to Jessica’s Hope.  We all love to shop and this is an easy way to do something good at the same time!

Who is your hero? Cliché but true – My mother is my hero.  Although she is not around physically, her spirit is with me every day.  She had a great work ethic and was very independent. What makes her my hero though, is her kind soul.  She always found the good in someone.  I don’t remember a time when she said cruel or mean things about anyone.   Her favorite saying was “you make your bed, you lie in it”, but I always knew that she would always be there to help get me up again.  In her mind it was the right thing to help other people when you could.

What is your favorite quote and why? My favorite quote is “if you continue to do the exact same thing, you will continue to get the exact same results”.  I am not sure who came up with this quote, but it can apply to your personal life as well as your business life and if something is not working in either, I look for something I can do differently.

What keeps you flourishing? I enjoy life.  I work hard, but I play hard also.  As I have gotten older I’ve learned to take time for me.  It truly is the secret to keeping your sanity.

If you were a pair of shoes, what kind would you be and why? I would be a pair of Michelle K.’s  They are comfortable with a subtle style.  This describes my personality.  I am often told that I have a unique style.  I like to call it comfortable and honest. Michelle K’s are comfortable with a simple, honest style.

I can’t wait to… Wake up tomorrow and see what adventures the day brings.  “The only day you have is the one in front of you, so choose wisely what you do with it!”

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