Teacher, Coach, Life-Long Learner, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Auntie, Step Mom, Dog Mom, Friend, Christian, Happiness Journeyer, Change Agent.
Once upon a time, I was a fearless, gregarious, adventurous, optimistic, trusting, and genuinely happy human being. Then, a series of negative life events took place over a span of several years. These events shook my world and my response to them changed me from the happy, outgoing, fearless adventurer to someone who closed down to protect myself. I lost trust in people, began to expect the worst rather than the best, experienced feelings of bitterness and anger, and spent A LOT of time doubting myself.
There will always be hardships, challenges and unfair things that happen in life. We can choose to learn and grow as a result of negative experiences and I did. Finding inner strength, self-reliance and resilience were certainly positive outcomes and, over the years, I made progress back towards my true self. However, it still felt like something was missing.
I was doing meaningful work that I loved, I was in a healthy, wonderful relationship with my husband, the fruits of my labor had begun to pay off and I was no longer under daily financial stress. Life was good! But was it? I still felt like I was surviving rather than thriving and I did couldn't figure out why. I would often ask myself questions such as: Why don't I feel happy? Why do I feel stuck? I have everything a person needs and life is a billion times better than those hard times so what the heck is wrong with me? Is this it?
Part of those feeling came from being paralyzed by fear. There were things that I wanted to do, changes that I wanted to make but I was afraid! I was afraid to make another mistake, afraid to fail, afraid to give up my security blanket, afraid to step out of the comfort zone that I had created. And this made me even more frustrated because, I wanted to get back to the fearless, happy, trusting, adventurer! (a wiser version, of course) I could inspire and help others but I couldn’t seem to turn the corner for myself.
Positive life-changing event number one:
I registered for a certification program in wholebeing positive psychology at the Wholebeing Institute/Kripalu in western Massachusetts. My intention for committing to this lengthy training was to help my students. I had developed a stress management course for our students because the need was so great. Each year, I worked to make it better and my research led to positive psychology. I went into that training for the kids but it changed my life for the better. It was the beginning of my happiness journey, it was a huge perspective shift, and it gave me tons of tools to boost my wholebeing happiness. I was applying everything that I had learned to my own life and applying it in the classroom. I was changing for the better and I was seeing positive change in my students.
The next pivotal point was at the end of this program when I returned to Kripalu for our final week. When I arrived, I learned that Stephen Cope would be one of our guest lecturers so I decided to buy his book: The Great Work of Your Life. On page 2 of the introduction, I read: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you; if you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
That hit me like a ton of bricks. I literally read it 20 times. It is highlighted and underlined, the page is dog-eared. I had been making significant progress in boosting my happiness levels but I still hadn't addressed the fear of change, the fear of failure. I had some big things that I wanted to do in my life and I was still stuck. I realized at that moment that if I didn't "bring forth what was within me", it was going to destroy me! The regret of not trying would have eaten away at me for the rest of my life. So, I decided, on that beautiful September day in the Berkshires that I was going to bring it! I had no flipping idea how, but I was going to do it!
I've spent the last few years learning, applying, experimenting, failing, growing, and succeeding. I became a certified positive psychology coach, completed an incredible certification program in Happiness Studies, and I'm almost finished with my Meditation and Mindfulness teacher certification. I have explored what a new version of teaching, coaching and mentoring would look like and how I could create the ripple effect I dreamed of. And, here we are.
What is that ripple effect? I want to bring together people who know that there is something more for them, that want to live a life with zest, break the chains of fear and self-doubt, experience more happiness and joy, make positive change, design their lives with meaning and purpose, care for their precious wellbeing, learn, grow, and thrive. And then, pay it forward. Share, teach, learn within our inSPIREd Happier Center and create the ripple effect in your own world, with your family, friends, community, and in all the lives you touch. Together, we become a part of the Happiness Revolution!
COMMUNITY: Connect with others who are actively seeking positive change, increased happiness, want to grow, flourish, and live their best life.
LEARN about the science of happiness.
APPLY and engage in happiness boosting strategies.
SHARE your knowledge and ideas with others and create a happiness ripple effect.
SUPPORT: Give to and receive from your fellow happiness journeyers.
CHALLENGE yourself and others to make positive change!
And, if you are like me, you want to take action to increase your wholebeing happiness one small but amazing step at a time!
Wow. Where do I begin with all this gratitude?
Family first. I'm blessed to have the most loving and supportive family.
Susan Cowell - my former boss lady who pushed me to create the original course for our students.
Pam Garramone who is an incredible presenter and introduced me to Positive Psychology.
Maria Sirois, Phoebe Atkinson, Jane Anderson, Joan Borysenko, Stephen Cope, Megan McDonough, Jennifer Hannawald, Lynda Wallace and the other amazing teachers at the Wholebeing Institute.
The Choir - Sharen Barboza, Mary DeLai, Nick Gissal, and Raphaela Kramer.
Stephanie Rosol - the coach who helped me get "unstuck".
Tal Ben-Shahar - an inspirational professor who encouraged us to create Happier Centers at the end of our certificate in Happiness Studies program.
And, each and every one of you who will become part of the inSPIREd Happier Center community. I can only imagine the places we will go on this journey!