A couple Friday’s ago I attended the Arise & Be Vision Board Workshop!
One word comes to mind to sum up my morning with this amazing group of women, thankful. This workshop allowed the time and space for me to make my goals and visions for this year come alive!
Going into the workshop I had a few things I wanted to accomplish. To reach my goal weight by May, spend the night in a treehouse and to learn Spanish.
After the first hour of the workshop, the time they gave us to just free our minds really helped me discover other goals that I never knew I had! The environment and energy at the workshop was amazing and so comfortable. It was so cozy and the music was so relaxing! I loved seeing the fresh flowers as soon as I walked in the room. Fresh flowers always put a smile on my face and warms my heart!
Hearing Kila’s story about her vision board totally made me tear up and it really helped everyone understand what a vision board is and what it can do for your life. I have created one other vision board about five years ago. I was so excited to make another one because I believe so much in the power of them!
Almost every single thing that I added to my previous board has all happened. A trip to Europe, a marriage to my best friend, my salon, a puppy and so much more! Since I have made my second board, I have looked at it each morning while getting ready for my day.
Putting positive thoughts into the universe of the things I want to accomplish for myself and my loved ones is a powerful thing.
I am thankful to be a part of the Arise & Be movement and I am so THANKFUL I get to experience moments like this with such an uplifting group of women!
I walked into the Arise & Be retreat in January a battered, wounded soul, and immediately I could tell that it was a safe place. I saw it in the way people were smiling at one another, nervous but open. I felt it in the way the Arise & Be team had set up the room so beautifully, and in the way we were greeted individually by the team. I even heard it in the gorgeous music filling the room and tickling my ears.
It wasn’t what I expected. Actually, I’m not even sure I had too many expectations. I came on a whim, in a flight of fancy . . . I really came as a last minute support for a friend who had wanted to attend one of Arise & Be’s retreats for a while. She had been wanting to go, but it always seemed like life got in the way. As moms of three kids each, both of us are more than a little busy! But stress had escalated to a breaking point. Life was unraveling way too fast. Now was better than later! So we traveled across several states to attend our first Arise & Be retreat.
Now, having been utterly unprepared, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m a adventurous person. Even in the unknown, I knew I’d be fine. Well, I wasn’t expecting this . . . Really. I could have easily handled an enthusiastic, in-your-face motivational speaker. I could have easily handled someone selling me a problem so that they could then sell me their solution. I could have definitely handled yet another “miracle cure available only today for a steal of a deal” ploy. You
know what I’m talking about – we face them every single day. Truly, this day was absolutely none of these.
Nope. Instead, a few minutes after I arrived I found myself with tears streaming down my face. Scary? Hell yeah! But why?? It took me a little while to find out. But when I did, I was shocked. I was overwhelmed by how welcomed I felt, how genuinely cared for and accepted. The depth of caring and nonjudgmental love was palpable, real, unlike anything I had experienced. It had been such a very long time since I had felt that, that my emotions responded in a fully unexpected way.
Don’t get me wrong – I was terrified. I don’t usually let my emotions out quite like that! Control is the name of the game, baby. Am I right? Are we not taught everywhere that emotions should be restrained at the very least? Nobody seemed to mind at all. In fact, the understanding and acceptance continued. In mere minutes, I was calm and peaceful, wholly absorbed in creating an artistic expression. After the introduction, we were transitioned to creating a simple, yet meaningful piece of art. Dr. Heather Penny talked to us about her research, including how art was so pivotal in both relaxation and learning.
As I drew simple lines (I’m more of a stick figure kind of person, to date – though I expect to develop as I persist :)), just the simple lines brought me peace. I absorbed what I was learning, how I was feeling, what I was making . . . it all flowed so effortlessly. The rest of the day continued to flow, the activities, the teaching, the creative time – each added together in such a well-thought out way. The atmosphere of genuine caring deepened and expanded throughout the day.
In fact, not only did I learn from what we did and what we heard, but so much of what I learned came from how I saw Heather, Sharon, Michaela, and Meredith interacting with each other and with us. That was another surprise. I’ve been to many events, conferences, etc where the speakers sort of disappear during breaks. (Am I right?? You know what I mean!) Each break all four of them were making connection and conversation a priority. (In fact, they individually
sought us out – no lines to meet the speaker here!)
Throughout the day, Heather, Sharon, Michaela, and Meredith each shared their story. They shared who they had been before, their journey, how they had met each other, and how their dream for Arise & Be had developed. Each had such a unique story, such a different set of skills, different ways of arriving where they are today. Yet what stood out the most is how their unique stories created in them this deep passion. A passion for creating a place where each of us can learn, grow, explore and create exactly the kind of life that we want most.
Bottom line, everyone, here’s the deal. This is my honest experience. I haven’t met people like this. I haven’t been somewhere where I felt so welcomed and valued. And where the value is for me, as a person, not for my customer potential! (Seriously, you know the “customer potential” feeling??) People this genuine and compassionate are beyond rare.
Turns out I was utterly unprepared for this Arise & Be retreat. I was surprised in the best of ways. I learned about myself, learned about embracing who I am, my journey, my story . . . I gained practical knowledge and tools for creating exactly the kind of life I want most. And the best part? I experienced an overwhelming sense of love and acceptance. I caught a glimpse of what deep meaningful friendships look like. I met 4 amazing women building a business they
are deeply passionate about, but who are even more passionate about the people who surround them.
Am I going back? (Seriously, do you even have to ask?? :))
– Carla Leon
I have had a love/hate relationship with fashion my entire life. I’m envious of the women who have a passion for fashion. You know the ones I’m talking about, the true fashionistas of the world. They look like they rolled out of bed styled and put together. I always wanted to be one of those people. My journey with style has left some many emotional scars. Let’s face it, the 80s weren’t nice to more than a few of us. I’ll spare you the embarrassing stories. Fast forward to the 90s, and I was wearing my sister’s hand-me-downs, most of them unfortunately had gone out of style already. I was rebellious in my teenage years, wearing jeans when other girls were wearing dresses and skirts because I just didn’t care what other people thought. Or so I claimed. Ironically my first job at sixteen was in retail. I worked as a cashier at a clothing store. The only problem was this store was not a hip, young clothing store. It was a grown up, thirties and older kind of store, and I had to dress the part. Oh I was made fun of plenty, especially when I would run into classmates at the mall. I heard comments like, “you’re wearing THAT?” What made it even worse was that I actually liked most of what I picked out my co-workers picked out for me. I was terrible at dressing myself and therefore hated it. In time, I was promoted to a sales associate and women twice my age were coming to me to wardrobe them. Yes, wardrobe. It wasn’t just about that one shirt or one outfit, I kept track of their entire closet to help them mix and match as they added new items. I became very good at it, earning an award for selling over $329,000 of clothes in one year. Little did they know, I still hated dressing myself. What broke my heart the most during my thirteen years in retail, was the negative body image many of these women had. My mission became to make each woman feel good about herself again through her wardrobe. It was about finding those pieces that make you feel special. You know what I’m talking about. You put it on, and all of a sudden you feel like super woman! You can take on anything! Anyone! You no longer look at all your flaws, the ones that only you see. They just fade away because you feel empowered! That became my mission throughout my career, to make women feel good about themselves again, one outfit at a time.
Little did I know, this mission would become my mantra for myself. Many years later, my days of wearing the current collection, forced accessorizing, and always looking “effortlessly” put together were over. Getting dressed was quite the challenge at first. I no longer had fantastic, stylish co-workers to help dress me on a regular basis. Then there was the BIG adjustment. You mean I don’t have to wear three accessories if I’m going to wear jeans? I can wear my favorite shirt from last season again? I don’t have to wear boots and fall clothes in August when it’s still summer outside or summer clothes in February when it’s still cold? #retailproblems. I had found fashion freedom!
Armed with my extensive business causal wardrobe from my various retail jobs over thirteen years, I began to play in my closet for the first time in my life. It was a winning fashion threesome. Me, my closet, and pinterest. My closet had NEVER brought joy or fun into my life, until now. More like dread and loathing. Fashion still isn’t always effortless for me, it takes a bit of work, coordinating, and trying on a million things when packing for a trip, but it has become FUN, a form of self expression, and a joy to feel good in my clothes and consequently in my own skin.
Ironically, just like in high school, I still receive comments and backhanded “compliments” about how I dress. Apparently, there is such a thing as looking too put together. Remember, I do have an extensive wardrobe and loads of accessories. If you worked in retail as long as I did, you would too! Instead of being encouraged, supported, or celebrated I have often felt belittled for how I dress. But that doesn’t deter me. I get dressed every day for me, not for you. Because I feel my best when I love what I’m wearing. Audrey Hepburn said, “Why change? Everyone has his own style. When you have found it, you should stick to it.”
As the seasons turn and you pull out your favorite boots, chunky sweater and that fabulous scarf you bought on sale, whether fashion is your thing, or you could care less about it, remember, “A personal style is like a handwriting-it happens as the byproduct of our way of seeing things, enriched by the experiences of everything around us” according to Mossimo Vignelli, and I couldn’t agree more!
One of the core values of Arise&Be is “living fully: mind, body, heart and spirit.” In order to live a full life, we need to be intentional about something that is a struggle for many women, SELF CARE. So this week, we’re thrilled to have guest blogger, Tami Hackbarth, share her thoughts on why self care is essential