Thankful 2012

In honor of Thanksgiving, I asked my friends and colleagues to tell me what they are thankful for in business and in life.

Their lovely, heartfelt responses are a testament to the joys of life as an entrepreneur.

What are you thankful for?

I’m thankful to be here now, alive, writing and living. And to be able to use my gifts to support people to heal and see their magic in the world.

I’m thankful for Morning Whip and to know you! I’m thankful for so many things, but to have thrived through our first year as detailed here: so thankful!

~ Grace Quantock

I am thankful for my growing family, my fabulous team and my supportive and fun friends.

I am grateful for health, creativity, opportunity and unbelievable freedom.

~ Cathy Brown Sykora

I am grateful for my family and friends – for the love that embraces me and the souls that remind me who I am and how I want to show up in this world.

I am grateful for work that allows me to witness my clients shape a new, peaceful reality, own their power and step unapologetically into their own skin.

~ Wokie Nwabueze

Looking back on the last year, I see so much I am thankful for; first is for the personal trauma I went through a year ago. It was the basis for me to align my life with my beliefs then have the courage to ask for and get what I need and want.

If you asked me last year if I was grateful for what I was going through at the time the answer would be “no way” followed by a lot of crying.

Now I look back and I want to cry for all that I have achieved in my personal development. I am right where I am supposed to be.

~ Cheryl Bigus

Always and deeply, I am thankful for my awareness to Spirit. For being awake at my wheel. For the gift of knowing how to open my heart, face to the sun, and trust the sail.

The ability to see the wonder in children, the pain on another’s face, the magnificence of our human containers that we call bodies … and the beauty of us being here time and time again, in these incarnations at all.

~ Rosa Conti

I am grateful and appreciate all my clients and students past and present, my followers and friends. Each day they remind me that my passion is to share the power of Happiness in our lives and bring joy to millions, and each and every one is a stepping stone to that goal.

In life in general I each day feel blessed to live here and now and give thanks for technology. I met hubby via an internet dating site and now live in a lovely town where I have met new friends and colleagues. I keep in touch with clients, students, colleagues and friends using social media; as well as getting to meet lovely new people daily.

And the best one yet…I get to Skype with my beautiful daughters and grand-daughters, seeing their faces and sharing love and laughter regularly.

~ Jacqueline Fairbrass

In business I am grateful for the spirit-rich women who show up in my well-nourished woman program trusting me with their deepest desire to elevate their relationship to food and their bodies.

And in life, I am deeply grateful for the improvement in my dad’s health over the past six months. He went from Hospice to greatly restored health. And at ninety one, he’s looking pretty good in “a room with a view” where he is, once again, enjoying chocolate for breakfast.

~ Sue Ann Gleason and

I am grateful and blessed to share this journey of awakening health and wholeness with the beings, young and old, that are my clients. I am grateful that CranioSacral healing helps 3 week old babies with birth trauma feel expansive and safe in their bodies.

Being present daily with my own humanity and multiple sclerosis helps me compassionately support families with a child with muscular dystrophy. I am thankful to support women experiencing loss of a precious physical ability whether it’s hearing or balance due to an accident or illness.

And in my own life, I am grateful to be shown the doorway, right below the surface of my constrictive physical body, into the expansive ocean of F L O W. Now I can feel F L O W in my own body and guide others into the source of pure self love

~ Barbara Coon

In my business, I am thankful for the wonderful people I am able to serve. I am thankful for the freedom my career gives me. In my personal life, I am thankful for my family who give me the freedom to simply be. It’s all about the people in my life and freedom.

~ Theresa Reed

I am so thankful for the love notes that fill my inbox each week from my amazing clients, and for the chance to be a witness to the phenomenal transformations that my clients experience.

I have the best clients — they motivate and inspire me every day!

~ Claudia Olivié

I’m thankful for all the lessons I have learned this year after quitting my day job, for all the connections I have made doing this work, for my Lovely Boyfriend who has been the best supporter ever, for Lulu the Krazy Kitty for bringing such joy in our home, for the roof above my head and the food in my fridge. Thankful for YOU! 😉

~ Emmanuelle Lambert

I’m thankful that I’m finding a way to combine all of the things I love the most, and the strengths which come most naturally to me, into this itty bitty biz I’m building.

Supporting and lifting up others while being authentically myself is deeply meaningful.

~ Allegra Stein

I’m thankful for the freedom in life and business to be able to travel and work from anywhere with my amazing husband at my side.

~ Amy Scott

I’m thankful that I live in a country where I can vote and get education without risking my life, health, or safety.

I’m thankful that I live in an era with the technology to make friends all over the world – including my clients! And that that same technology lets me leverage my skills, passions, and genius into a sustainable business.

I’m thankful for my family and friends and their unwavering support, and my dog that thinks I’m awesome no matter what. And, I’m always thankful for dark chocolate!

~ Michelle Nickolaisen

I am so very thankful that in the midst of great challenges, I was able to bring my business to a place where I can support my family when we need it most.

~ Kimberely Arana

I am thankful I’ve created a business doing what I enjoy: traveling, cooking and writing. I am grateful for stepping into my power more and more and watching my dreams unfold.

I am grateful for my daughter, wonderful friends, a thriving life, living in NYC, and after Hurricane Sandy, not sweating the small stuff at all.

~ Tracey Ceurvels

I’m thankful for the INCREDIBLE community I have access to. The warmth, support, intelligence, passion and understanding from like-minded business women has helped me uncover and appreciate my own brilliance, as well as the joy of supporting other women along their own paths.

~ Zsofi Koller

Thankful for love+space to create+abundance+blessings!

~ Bri Saussy

I am so very thankful for the renewing and self-affirming power of the Creative Spirit…the knowledge that we are all Creative Beings, forging unique and awe-inspiring lives for ourselves in this World.

I am so thankful for Art to express myself through and make me feel of serve in my life.

~ Parisa Eithne Roohipour

I am thankful for the daily opportunity to grow beyond my perceived comfort zone and discover new skills, abilities and creative solutions that I would have never discovered otherwise.

~ Carla Golden

I am most thankful for my family!!! And I am thankful for all the people that have touched my life this year, inspired me beyond belief, taught me things, helped me be a better me.

~ Ursula Markgraf

I’m grateful for the chance to squish my kids every day, and to be able to get back to a calm center (eventually…) no matter how much craziness is going on in my outside life. A peaceful heart rocks! LOL

~ Julie Apolinario

I am very grateful I started my revamped business after having my daughter. I am thankful that little voice inside me always reminds me to put family before work.

If I had been successful before being a parent I know I would put ambition above all.

~ Amanda Burris

I am thankful for the freedom to make bold moves: from my marriage, our international transition, and jumping into new friendships with both feet.

I’m grateful for my health, my ability to create, and the people who support and cheer me on.

~ Nathalie Lussier

I’m thankful that I get to co-create with amazing clients – and that I get to support their transformation and growth on a global platform.

~ Michelle Martello

I am grateful to have the opportunity to teach kids about the importance of living a life of confidence, courage and compassion.

I am grateful to be a mom and to help my kids see the good in them and in others, to live fully and to make a difference.

~ Chantelle Adams

I am grateful for my true friends – those people whom I know are there for me regardless of the time or distance that has us physically apart.

I am grateful for all the love in my life. I am grateful that in every raindrop, there is a glimmer of light.

~ Nancy Lamb

I’m thankful for the freedom to build the business I love.

I’m thankful for my family – my kids and my adorable grandkids. And I’m thankful for learning and growth in my life.

~ Leanne Chesser

I am thankful for all the lessons I learned this year. I am truly thankful + honored to have worked with incredible souls as clients.

This provided me a refining of my heart + soul to keep on this path of awakening. Oh, and I’m grateful for all the support I had to make it all happen.

~ Hillary Rubin

In my life, I am thankful for God’s salvation, thankful that His mercy and kindness continue to pour blessings into my life even when I don’t deserve them. I’m thankful for the blessing of my amazing family, my daughters especially and for great friends like the Tribe.

In my business, I am thankful for every experience this year – good and bad. Especially thankful for the blessing of becoming a best selling author and of course for my husband’s never-ending support. Even though he still doesn’t fully understand what I do, he’s always incredibly supportive and willing to invest whatever is needed.

I’m also beyond thankful for all my clients and community of subscribers. Without them, I’d have no business.

~ Rachel Luna

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for? Comment below.

Women Branching Out: Alana Sheeren

I’m very happy to have Alana Sheeren here on the blog today as part of the Women Branching Out interview series.

Alana is a grief and loss coach who uses her own person experiences to help others grow and heal through loss.

Her tele-retreat, The Picking Up the Pieces Tele-Retreat begins November 20.

Here’s Alana…

In your coaching practice you help people pick up the pieces after a loss. What are some of the tools you teach your clients to use?

One of the first things I do is share information. There are myths and misperceptions about grief in our culture that tend to be very hurtful, even harmful, so I like to dispel those in order to allow people to relax into their experience. Often we judge ourselves, or feel judged by those around us, for how we are feeling. Having more accurate knowledge about what grief looks like can relieve the self-judgment and enable us to trust ourselves in the face of others’ opinions.

I use the body as an important way into emotion, so I spend time helping my clients get in touch with their bodies in a nurturing, intuitive way. I also teach tools that increase self-awareness, deepen intuition and allow my clients to be more curious about what’s happening emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. I like to think of each of my clients as the expert in their own grief, so it’s my job to help them explore what feels good and right and healing for them.

Fighting grief, resisting it, gives it more power and makes it infinitely more painful. My goal is to help people soften into it, get to know it, get to know themselves without being defined by it. In accepting our feelings we give them freedom to transform. I want my clients to leave with tools they can use for the rest of their lives.

You say, “Grief is one of the most powerful ways to change your life for the better.” How has your own experience with loss and grief changed you?

The pain of grief will either shut us down or crack us open.
What that looks like varies depending on the person and the situation. Each time grief has entered my life, I’ve learned about myself. I realized I was in love with my first boyfriend right after my childhood pet died. I left him four years later, shortly after my grandparents died. The grief wasn’t the cause of those decisions, but feeling broken open allowed there to be more space for listening to my heart.

When my marriage fell apart and we decided to rebuild it, it changed the course of my life. I went back to school to get my Master’s degree in Psychology. Learning to live with the pain, the anger, and the love – staying present with all of it – deepened my relationship with my husband and with myself. It was incredibly difficult, but I believe if things hadn’t happened that way, our marriage wouldn’t have survived the stillbirth of our son.

Benjamin’s death has been my most overwhelming experience of grief.
It brought me back to myself in important ways. There were pieces of my soul that I’d been ignoring for years. There were things I was doing in my life that I knew weren’t serving me but I didn’t know how to change them. The trauma of his death was a call for me to wake up.

In order to get through the day in one piece, to continue parenting my daughter who was three at the time, I had to do two things: stop everything that didn’t make me feel better and start doing what eased the pain. That looked like everything from writing and dancing daily to letting go of a 24-year friendship to becoming a Reiki Master to losing 64 pounds and changing my relationship to food. I stopped letting shoulds rule my life and began listening deeply to my inner wisdom, my intuition, my soul cravings.

Even in the moments where I still ache to hold my son’s body, the moments where I am covered in tears and snot and running mascara, I am deeply grateful for what I’ve lived. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, I wouldn’t feel like I’m living on purpose, if he hadn’t come into my life. Because I’ve felt such deep grief, I’m able to experience even greater joy and peace. And I look and feel better than I have in two decades. Life hasn’t necessarily gotten easier, but I’m much better at riding the waves.

How has the experience of coaching others through similar life changes impacted your life?

Honestly it is such an honor that even thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. It is my privilege to hold the space for people whose hearts are broken open in this way, who are so beautifully vulnerable and willing to let life be their teacher.

It’s also challenging. I have to make sure I’m taking care of myself.
I have to be clear in my mental and emotional boundaries or I begin to absorb their pain. I’m highly sensitive to energy so I make sure to ground myself before and after my work, and clear anything that I’ve taken in. I’ve discovered that I get messages in my body about what clients are experiencing in their bodies. It’s helpful in session, but then I have to be sure to let it go. I know my own grief signs so well that when they begin to appear, I boost my self-care.

I’m also very clear about who I will work with. If someone is stuck in feeling like a victim, or isn’t willing to come to the work with an open heart, I usually suggest they see a therapist, grief counselor or find a support group. There are other reasons I refer out as well, but that’s a big one. It’s too draining for me and it’s partly why I chose not to become a therapist in the first place.

What books and resources do you recommend to anyone who is grieving?

The number of books on grief is overwhelming. Some of them are helpful and others perpetuate the myth that grief is one-size-fits-all, or that there is a right way to do it. I highly recommend that people take what works for them – what feels supportive and healing – and let everything else go.

Grief Watch has a wonderful selection of books, including one of my favorites for adults and children alike, Tear Soup. The founders, Pat and John put a lot of thought and care into the books they create and recommend.

I recently read a new book, Turning Dead Ends Into Doorways: How to Grow Through Whatever Life Throws Your Way, by Staci Boden. It’s an invaluable resource for anyone living life’s challenges.
My review of it is here and people can watch my interview with the author here.

A friend of mine, Erica Staab, also has a beautiful book called The In-Between. It’s simple, lovely and comforting. I have an interview with her available here.

I love the work of Cath Duncan and Kara Chipoletti Jones. They’ve created the Creative Grief Coaching Certification for people who want to work with grievers. They have wonderful resources and reading lists on their grief coaching site.

On my site, I have a free e-book called Picking Up the Pieces: thoughts on grief and growth. It deals with different kinds of grief and offers prompts for working through your own experience. I also have a TEDx talk about Owning Our Grief.

Any of Brene Brown’s work on shame and vulnerability – her TEDx and TED talks, and her books, are worth watching and reading.

Patti Digh is another favorite of mine. Her book, Life is a Verb, was inspired by her stepfather’s death, 37 days after his cancer diagnosis. Though it’s not about grief specifically, it’s about living mindfully, which in my mind helps us to grieve. Her new book, The Geography of Loss, will be in bookstores mid-2013.

You have a virtual retreat coming up soon which will focus on getting through the holidays. Tell us a little bit more about that retreat and who would benefit the most from joining in.

The Picking Up the Pieces Tele-Retreat is for women experiencing any kind of grief, sadness, or sense of loss. I’ve had women participate who were dealing with infertility, pregnancy loss, stillbirth, pet death, the medical diagnosis and approaching death of a child or husband, childhood grief, the death of parents and other loved ones, the end of a relationship, the loss of a dream, and general sadness. The community that is created always blows me away. There is such openness and willingness to listen and support one another. For most people it’s a huge relief to have a place to talk about the emotions, thoughts, pain and fear that accompany grief.

It’s a five-week retreat with each week organized around a theme. They are Body, Mind, Heart, Spirit, and Relationships and Community. It involves a weekly phone call where I share information and people get support, a private Facebook group where we stay in touch between calls, a weekly meditation, prompts to encourage exploration and self-understanding, and daily emails with short self-care exercises. People can engage with each other and the work as much as they feel comfortable.

It was important to me to offer it over the holidays. This time of year is loaded with expectations, memories, desires and emotions. I want people to have a safe space to come and feel they can be themselves without fear of judgment. It’s a beautiful, gentle, healing experience. If anyone feels drawn to it but has questions, they can book a complimentary call with me this week and I’m happy to answer them.

Finish this sentence. I believe…

I believe in the strength, resilience and brilliance of the human spirit. I believe in love. I believe we are all meant to shine.

Who are your biggest supporters and bright lights in your life and what does their support allow you to do?

My husband and daughter first and foremost.
He is my biggest supporter and she is my brightest light. My parents have always supported me, no matter how nutty they thought I was being. I have the most incredible friends, some of whom I’ve yet to meet in person. Their love has lifted me up in my times of grief and despair. Their support has kept me going when I felt like everything was falling apart. Their willingness to celebrate with me has made my celebrations sweeter. Knowing they are out there, loving me, believing in me, keeps me going on the days when juggling wife, mother and entrepreneur feels like more than I can handle. I am unbelievably blessed.

What did 7 year old Alana say she wanted to be when she grew up?

A ballerina and a writer. I danced professionally until I was 21, then gave it up for a long time. I have a feeling I’ll dance publicly again one day – though not ballet! I didn’t write, except in a journal, for almost 20 years. When I started again, it was like I breathed oxygen into piece of my soul that I’d been unconsciously trying to suffocate. But it wouldn’t die. Dancing and writing have saved my life.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

You can’t do grief wrong. You can make it easier or harder on yourself. You can learn from it or not. You can heal through it or not. You can let it define your life or you can let it be a part of you and thrive again. You can ask for help or go it alone. You can say yes or no when people offer you love, support and community. It’s really up to you.

Grief can be a doorway to increased kindness, compassion and awakening consciousness if you let it.

Trust yourself. Love yourself. Forgive yourself for being human.
Allow yourself to have your feelings – all of them – and if you’re raising kids, allow them to have their feelings too.

Hazrat Inayat Kahn said, “God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.” Let your heart remain open. This one act, if enough of us do it, will change the world.

– – – – – –
Alana Sheeren is an emotional alchemist, deep conversation catalyst, Reiki Master, Kundalini yogi and proud mama of two children, a 5-year-old daughter and a stillborn son.

You can find her at, where you can download her free e-book, Picking Up the Pieces: thoughts on grief and growth, watch her interview series, Transformation Talk, and join a community of women learning to grow and heal through loss during the Picking Up the Pieces Tele-Retreat.

Please comment below and share Alana’s work with anyone you know who is experiencing grief or loss this holiday season.

Support Causes You Believe In

Personal connections matter. Noticing and acknowledging other people’s work and lives and humanity matters. Lifting up other people matters. Being kind and generous matters. Being curious about what makes other people tick matters.

The internet gives us unprecedented access to information for building better businesses and lives. This information is freedom for many women. With that information comes responsibility.

Earlier this year I met Erin Giles and witnessed her take a fresh approach to using information to raise awareness and support for a cause she deeply believes in, ending sex trafficking. Every day Erin teaches women how to use their businesses to make a difference in causes of their choice. To take responsibility.

I’m honored to be a supporter of Erin’s work to end sex trafficking.

Buy a copy of End Sex Trafficking for $20 — a collection of 60 essays on love, knowledge + freedom by trailblazers like Seth Godin, Danielle La Porte, Jonathan Fields— and all of the authors proceeds goes to the Not For Sale Campaign an organization fighting to abolish slavery every single day.


None of the essay contributors, the publisher or the editor is taking any money from sales, it’s not just a book, it is a chance to change the world.

More than 27 million human beings are enslaved in the world in 2012. So — you want to stand up for freedom…today?



Let’s get this pressing message to all the hearts and lit up screens we can.



Click to tweet:

Just bought a copy of End Sex Trafficking. $20 = Women Freed + One Step Closer to abolishing modern slavery #ESTDay2012

Tweet to free lives, help us end sex trafficking today on End Sex Trafficking Day #ESTDay2012.