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Posts Tagged ‘women to know in Portland’

Jenn SavageJenn Savage, founder of A Heart Centered Life, is a Master Sufi teacher and healer.  She is passionate about helping women heal, and open their hearts more deeply to the realities of the Divine.  She is soulful and wise, and carries and aura of peace that is transmitted to her students and clients. Jenn holds healing circles where women can gather, grow, and heal spiritually. She is most excited about her work that helps women identify and move away from negative voices and stories of the past, so they are more able to access the Truth that lies at the center of their hearts.

She began her own personal healing journey at 17, when she was struggling to overcome depression, an eating disorder, and the effect addiction was having on her life.   At 19, she packed her little red car and headed south, to California, to start a new life.   Shortly after arriving in the Bay Area, she read The Tao of Pooh, and The Peaceful Warrior, which resonated deeply with her, and helped her to know at a very deep level that there was more to her than a physical body, and the symptoms that plagued her.

In 1996, she attended East West College of Healing Arts whereshe studied massage and continued her healing.  It was during this time that she awoke more deeply to her purpose as she learned about body-mind medicine and the power of holistic healing.  Her quest continued over the next 3 years as she traveled the U.S. and studied with spiritual teachers from all over the world.  In 1999, she met Sidi al Jamal, the Guide of the Shadhuli Sufi tradition, from the Mount of Olives in the holy city of Jerusalem, and she knew then her searching was over – She had found her spiritual home and the path she would follow.  Sidi carried the deep love and containment she had been searching for, and it has been through these teachings that she has been able to heal, and completely transform her broken heart.
Jenn is a gifted, insightful, merciful healer and is thankful for the opportunity to offer these sacred and ancient teachings to others who are ready to take the next step in their healing.  When she isn’t helping others, Jenn can be found roaming around local farmer’s markets, or chasing her 18 month old son around the neighborhood.

Jenn will be starting an 8 week Tending the Garden of Your Heart series on January 2, 2010.   The group will meet weekly in Portland from 930 am -11am.  The program cost is $199.00.  Early bird registration by December 15, is only $149.00.  Mention Flourish and receive an addition $20.00 discount.  She recently participated as a facilitator of a beautiful and insightful meditation process using clay at our Flourish Life on Purpose Retreat.  It was a life changing experience for several attendees.

Jenn’s website, http://www.AHeartCenteredLife.com, is currently under construction, but she can be reached via email at Jenn@AHeartCenteredLife.com, or by phone: 650.430.4115.

Wanting to know a little bit more about this wonderful woman, we asked Jenn a few fun questions.  Here’s what she had to say…

Who is your hero?
Women around the world who spend every day gaging their worth against negative images and social mores that devalue, exploit, or repress the feminine, are my heroes.  It is an honor to be part of a tribe that holds the key to creation and carry such deep and holy wisdom.
What is your favorite quote?
“When you find the Love, you find yourself…”
-Sidi al Jamal
If you were a pair of shoes, what kind would you be, and why?
I would be a favorite pair of slippers – One’s you can’t wait to slip into.  They are cozy, keep you warm, and bring comfort after a long day.   They are soft, with memory foam insoles, and a solid sole that supports you, and allows you the freedom to travel out in the world while wearing them.
What keeps you flourishing?
My own personal healing and spiritual awakening, the joy I get from witnessing my 18 month old discover and learn about the world around him, the support of my loving, patient, gentle and understanding husband, the connections I have with my women friends, anything that has to do with sustainability and doing our part to make as little of an impact on the world as possible, good food, travel, and helping others Remember how holy and sacred they really are!
I can’t wait to…
Finish my book, and take the teachings that are in my heart and soul out into the world!   I long for the day when I can reach a broader audience and participate in women returning to, and owning how beautiful and sacred they are.

Thank you Jenn!

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Nothing is more inspiring that when you hear a story about a woman with a brilliant idea and the vision and courage to bring it into the world.
circus

Jenn Cohen is one of those women.  She discovered the healing power of circus when she was just 13, while on a family vacation at Club Med and she’ll tell you that it changed her life.  Jenn has been involved in circus performing in one way or another for 20 years and it’s taken her all over the world.  She also just completed a Master degree in process oriented psychology.  And, she’s only 33 years old!  By combining her passion, a unique set of skills and a deep desire to make a difference, Jenn created The Circus Project initially as part of her Master’s thesis, but she says she has found her true calling.

Jen knew that the skills and self discovery gained through circus performance, could enable homeless and at-risk your to develop stronger physical and emotional integrity.  The Circus Project was born from Jenn’s inspiration, vision and much hard work and it is making a difference in the lives of many young people in Portland.

Last weekend, we had the honor to attend “Animare”, a Circus Project production and an outstanding display of talent, hard work and breathtaking aerial artistry performed by Jenn’s graduating students.  What a brilliant reminder that one person truly can make a difference in the lives of many.

If you’re ever secretly dreamed about running away to join the circus, here’s your chance…The Circus Project offers a variety of classes for “the rest of us” – that’s everyone from 1 – 99!   It brings new meaning to the term flying high.

Learn all about Jenn Cohen and The Circus Project.





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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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The Pink Phoenix Story …

2007_team

You may have seen the Pink Phoenix Dragon Boat Team during the Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races.  In fact, you probably couldn’t help but notice them – they’re the team wearing pink life jackets.  You see, this team is made up entirely of breast cancer survivors.

Their name, Pink Phoenix, is taken from the pink ribbons worn by breast cancer survivors and from the mythical bird that consumes itself in fire and rises from its own ashes-a triumphant symbol of rebirth and renewal of human spirit, not unlike the renewed commitment to life after surviving cancer or any life threatening disease.

Interestingly, the team was not founded by a breast cancer survivor, but by an avid dragon boat paddler, Dorothy Atwood, who was inspired by a team of blind paddlers.  Founded in November 1996, with help from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the first team had 25 members.

None of the women had ever paddled before. They ranged in age from 29 to mid 60s and they were in different stages of physical fitness.  This didn’t stop Dorothy. Her desire to share the sport she loved so much had her out several times a week from February through the end of summer teaching and training this new team.

The team has grown from those first 25 members to more than 80! Pink Phoenix has raced in Rose Festival every year since. In fact, the team has raced in venues around the world.

Watch this video of the Pinks in action!   Our own Flourish member Deandra Ellerbe is a proud member of the Pinks.  These are all truly flourishing women.  Go girls!  We’ll be down on the Willamette cheering you to victory.

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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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Laura says her life story is as easy 1 2 3 & A B C.  First she’s a wife who married her high school sweetheart and after all these years, Laura says they’re still working on their relationship.  Second, Laura is the mother of two fabulous children – both quick-study success stories in their own right and third, she’s one heck of an entrepreneur!

After a long and successful career in the corporate world, Laura traded in her business suit to follow a new life purpose.  Laura

Now this is cruise control!

Now this is cruise control!

loves people and is blessed with deep intuition.  She combined these assets to become a certified life coach.  Then, always open to life’s next adventure, Laura found a new passion in helping people live their travel dreams.  As the founder & President of Cruise Control Travel, LLC, she operates as an Independent Travel & Cruise Consultant.  Laura loves her work and it shows!  In Laura’s own words –  “I’m a lifetime student that loves to experience the products I sell first hand.  I work face to face with my clients, where I combine my 25 + years of personal & business travel experience with my strengths gained in Corporate America, in both leadership & project management roles.”

For relaxation, Laura loves to paddle her kayak on the local rivers and a recent trip to Puerta Vallarta found her zinging down a canopy-zip-line!  You go adventure girl!

It wasn’t easy catching up with this travel whirlwind, but we sat down long enough for Laura to answer our favorite questions:

Who is your hero?
Doctor Maya Angelou is my hero.  This is one special lady!  I recently had the honor of attending her live lecture at the Arlene Schnitzer, in Portland, Oregon.   Dr. Angelou shared her amazing real life lessons of courage, truth, passion, healing, suffering and sharing.  I also love that she stands in her power when she steps up to the lectern.   This great lady has mastered the power of the pause, like no one I’ve ever met before, and by that I mean she holds the pause, allowing the audience to catch up to that higher vibration that she resonates at.   Now that’s my hero!

What is your favorite quote and why?
“Remember that happiness is a way to travel, it’s not the destination”- Roy Goodman.    This quote reminds me that I have the choice to smile, I can exhale and let go of the outcome.  Actually, I now practice the “Smile Meditation” daily.  This meditation is described  in the book “eat, pray, love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.

If you could be a pair of shoes what kind would you be and why?
Hands down I would be a Saucony XT 900, this is a high-powered, form-fitted walking shoe, which was designed with a flexible steel rod right down the middle of it’s sole for ultimate walking balance.   I’m constantly striving for body, mind and spirit balance and appreciate great health.

What keeps you flourishing?
I’m jazzed by listening to or learning about real life stories from others – ordinary people that accomplish extraordinary things.  That’s why I love the Flourish network, each month I lean something new from the speaker, meet interesting women and learn something about their journey.  Their stories keeps me flourishing and ignite my inner passion to go, explore more.

I can’t wait to:
Have you join me on a very special 7-Night Caribbean Cruise, Spring 2010.   This 100% Raw & Organic conference cruise, promises to be life changing.  We are finalizing our line up of speakers which will include a famous raw chef; a renown diabetic eye doctor, and the one and only Mr. Michael Collins, whose amazing life story will be told in a television documentary  this summer.  Michael has totally healed himself from diabetes by eating organic and raw whole foods.  Enjoy “La dolce vita” on a cruise while listening to amazing stories and learning about health and healing.

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