The Ponte Vedra "Soul Gym": the first word (March, 2017)


Much, much to report on my front.  If you are receiving this email, it’s because you are a good friend who I would want to have already shared such big things happening in my life — but due to life coming at me like a freight train and the fact that there are only so many hours in a day and because the stories are so long and get so involved and the conversations take on a life of their own… I just really need to retreat myself and focus my time and efforts!  Hence — an email update!

So…  I’ve been greatly enjoying my education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  It’s so great.  So much more than you would picture (everyone pictures a nutrition school), but it’s really all about personal journey and if you so choose, becoming a holistic health counselor.  Helping people to increase health and happiness through so many basic, but wonderful channels.  I am halfway through the program, and couldn’t love the school more. If everyone on earth did this program (wanting a career or just for their personal growth- people actually do it just for their personal health), the world would be a better place.  Although I don’t graduate until September, I have my first client, and am coaching away, and it is pure joy to spend time with her.

The bigger update starts here.  In mid January, I went away alone on an Ayurvedic retreat for 3 days with a suitcase full of my binders, notes, journals, previous studies, etc.  I was feeling a little lost about what I was going to do with my education and how I would apply it (lots of options, surprisingly).  I went on a Saturday, and on Monday morning in my quiet time, I  filled 2 sheets of paper with detailed ideas.  Not to sound wacky, but I can only describe it as a vision, because I had no ideas and then the next day I had ideas so detailed I could paint a picture.  To add to it, it is very much NOT what I was thinking.  Originally, I figured I would love the scalability and flexibility of health coaching. Very non-committal, lots of freedom and options, more like “dabbling” but doing good!  What is transpiring, as you will soon see, is commitment. A big one.  Nonetheless, I left that weekend with an intention to “do nothing”, “just let it resonate”, finish my program, and go from there.

Well, apparently God was not a fan of that timeline.   I could almost write a small book of its own just on the last 7 weeks, but let’s just cut through the details and say that things I weren’t necessarily looking to happen were happening, and this “project” was taking on a life of it’s own.  In the last few weeks alone, I made an offer on a property I didn’t know existed 3 days before, lost that property (but refined my vision in the process), was introduced by a friend of a friend of a friend to a woman in the middle of nowhere Massachusettes that has almost the identical vision and is in business, was led to another (even better) property, was offered a partnership of sorts in previous woman’s business, signed a contract on the house below, planned a trip to meet my potential partner in person for the first time ever, and believe it or not, there’s more, but why even go into the details when the macro level is already overwhelming to take in?  :)

So here’s the vision as it stands now.  Think retreat. But not a retreat where you visit and stay and do it once a year, but a retreat you have access to locally on a daily basis.  In this “Soul Gym”, there is possibly:   1 morning yoga class specifically meant to help you prepare for your day (gentle, feel good, pranayama, a short meditation), a healthy oatmeal breakfast and a pot of aromatic chai tea to give you chance to stay and enjoy fellowship, a space where you can come just to unplug (find solitude, or a “home away from home” or meet your girlfriends, or just see who is there), an evening yoga that is specifically geared to wind down your day (think yin and long stretches and darkness and candles).  For members of this “soul gym”, you have access to as little or as much as you want, but can opt for things like:  private health coaching by IIN counselors, cooking classes, educational workshops, farm to table dinners, and similar.  A place where women can be in community, can be supported, and become leaders in this space .  Does someone want to start a book club?  A community art class?  A walking group?  Change their dietary habits together and lean on each other for accountability?  use the trail behind the house to go for long walks?  Invite others to volunteer with you at a place that is special to you?  Offer a bible study?  The possibilities for interest groups are endless.  Perhaps there’s a plot of garden in the yard with fabulous soil and members and rent “plots” and plant and organic garden? Maybe they can do it in groups and each plant one type of vegetable and do it really well and share the bounty for variety?  Maybe there’s a sharing cabinet for wonderful teas or similar that people find in their travels. is there also a bookshelf in the great room and in the kitchen for sharing our favorite books and recipe books?   Could there be women there in their 20’s who could benefit from the wisdom of a 70 year old?  Are there empty nesters looking for relationships?  Widows? Busy moms that just need to “retreat”? Can we identify tasks we have to do that we don’t necessarily enjoy doing, and make them fun by doing them as a group (think chopping over a glass of wine).  Could it be?  

If it sounds like a lot, it is.  Maybe it’s all this. Maybe it’s more. Maybe it’s less. Maybe it’s a lot less.  Most importantly, it’s not mine.  It’s the “community’s”.  My hope is to start very, very small with very little offered and let it grow organically out of the needs and interests of the group.   There is real possibility that it is none of this and that God completely re-routes me, and i’m open to that as well.  Following the path...

As you can see, it’s big.  I’m overwhelmed.  Much to do to start a business. And do I just launch in start given I don’t know exactly where I’m headed.  BUT….  it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  When I decided to take on a new career at (almost 50), it was because I might live to 100, and if I do, I have 50 more years to impact others, and I’d like to be a positive force during those years.  I’m passionate about the movement and just saying “NO” to the endless busyness and striving that is impacting our health through every channel of our lives.  Even if we just make a dent in our stress, let’s call it a win.

Does it sound like a pipe dream that this just all “comes together”, that people  just “pitch in”, that it just “takes on a beautiful life of it’s own”?   If you are saying yes, then join me, because I agree it might be.  But I guess I’m willing to find out.  

Wish me love, light, and more than my fair share of luck ;)   And pray for me!  

PS the picture doesn’t do it justice.  while the home is lovely (it’s actually not big - this picture makes it look grand), the property is the best part.  Literally, feed your soul environment that you can enjoy just by entering it!  Welcome to “feels like i’m in the middle of nowhere” right in PVB!

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