Just Say Yes

I’m a believer. You know those kinds of people. The woo woo ones. The ones who just know that there are fairies, spirits, a higher power. Yup, that’s me now, but things weren’t always as spiritual up in this bitch. I grew up Catholic-light. I say that because my family embraced some of the teachings — both my parents went to a legit Catholic schools, and we attended church, well, on the holidays…sometimes. God was there, I suspected, but never actually felt any connection thereto. Then, in my early adolescence my Dad remarried, and with my new family came the Catechism, prayers before everything, and mandatory Sunday Mass. I liked the idea of religion, and really enjoyed the singing in church, but didn’t feel closer to anything divine. I gave up on the idea of someone in the sky guiding me for years until a short stint with a born-again cult helped me understand my true religion — me.

I know at first glance that seems like the total narcissistic ideal — the idea that I am God, but bear with me for a second. I had been questioning the existence of a higher deity-“God”-for pretty much my entire life, until one day in a dance class, it was made clear to me. While sweating, stretching and performing a particularly beautiful combination I finally felt Him (or in my case, Her :) ) The inspiration for my life (the spirit if you will), didn’t live outside of me on some cloud overhead, but inside my heart. The feeling of being filled with a gift from something bigger than me was radiating from inside. God, or the universe as I call it, resides right here, in me.

This discovery changed everything. Suddenly I started to pay attention to the consciousness my intuition gave me. Should I date that guy? My gut got twisted and queasy, probably not the right fit. Should I pursue my dream of being in a Broadway show? Butterflies and fireworks of excitement. Yup. I’m right where I need to be. Don’t get me wrong, intuitive connection was and is still a process. Some signals were ignored, some misread, but the gut didn’t lie. Like a weathervane, my sixth sense was right on-always and in all ways. My life has been extraordinary trip since I learned how to say yes to insight. From talking to others, it seems like I’m not alone in the search for some guide and guru. Let me share with you the beauty of your God within, and how to tap into yours:

sun in hands
  • Pay attention
The first step to tapping into the Divine within is to simply stop, drop, and notice. Meditation is the most powerful tool to hear your inner voice. Starting with even just 5 minutes every morning will put you more in touch with your instincts. Letting the monkey of the mind chatter  will only distract you from the pure messages from your deep subconscious. Once you’ve started to quiet your mind, start noticing your body cues as well. Why do I feel tense whenever I speak to that friend? Every time I head into work I feel sick to my stomach, where conversely working with animals makes me feel like I’m on cloud nine? Your mind leaves your body clues, you just have to pay attention to the writing on the wall.
  • Be specific
Being a conduit for our higher selves is just the first step. I once heard that prayer is speaking to God, and meditation is listening. Once you have the listening part down, start to set your intentions on what you want in your life. I’m not trying to foray too much into The Secret here, but really, being specific about your ideal mate, job, or even vacation helps the universe deliver. Take time to dream, scheme, and then get specific. I LOVE doing vision boards to help my subconscious grasp the plan. Do your 50% and the divine can meet you halfway.
  • Get comfy with your vibes
So now you’re listening, getting clear and things seem good, but be aware. This is where things might freak you out. Opening yourself up to your inner wisdom will bring well, some serious learning. Suddenly the friend you thought was your bestie gives you a headache every time she calls. Maybe that relationship has outgrown its purpose, and it’s time to move on. As you open yourself up and ask the universe to intervene, it will, but not always in the ways you thought it would. Just breathe and know that your intuition never steers you wrong. While some old relationships, habits, or patterns may fall away, new, better serving ones will appear. Promise.
  • Just Say Yes
This is my favorite part of being an intuitive person. When you get clear and comfy, the universe will be eavesdropping on your shit. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself saying things like: “I never go and see live music. I need to do more of that” and then BOOM! You’ll get a free ticket to see the Ting Tings (true story). Though I digress, honestly it’s slightly spooky how your ability to manifest grows. As the old saying says, “be careful what you wish for.” Your inner guide is alert and ready to deliver, so when the things you have been wanting show up, JUST SAY YES. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth here-who knows where that concert could lead you, or who you could meet on the dance floor. If anything, you’ll start to feel whole and fulfilled since no one knows you better than you. Just enjoy!

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Teacher Focus Feature ~ Liza Ard

There’s nothing I hate more then when I introduce myself to someone and they reply, “I’ve actually met you already”. Duh! I feel like a total jerk for not remembering their face, let alone their name. This was the case when I met Ms. Liza Ard. I remember it well now: it was 3 plus years ago before I took over the Pilates studio I now own, and Liza and her friend, also now one of our cooperative members, popped by the studio looking to rent space. If her striking beauty wasn’t enough to capture my attention, I was imprinted by her quiet demeanor and serenity. So when she reached out to me about becoming part of the FORM team I was hopeful that some of her tranquility might rub off on me. After teaching next to her for almost a year now, I realize that her relaxed nature is just a means to her lazer-like clarity and on point teaching of the Pilates method. Here’s her story:

It only took one session for Liza to get a fixation on Joe Pilates’ method. Her older sister recommended she try it out and she was so smitten that she immediately decided to become an instructor and started her training with the Grande Dame of Pilates, Romana Kryzanowska.

For Liza, the Pilates method is everything. She loves how it’s fluid, ever changing, and efficient it is. Before she started doing Pilates she was always bored with her workouts and could never quite achieve the musculature she desired. Pilates keeps her constantly engaged and rewarded for her all her effort.

As a civilian (not a dancer or athlete), Liza’s translation of the Pilates method is truly user-friendly. Not influenced by years of perfectionist seeking training, she focuses on the body in front of her acknowledging it’s unique structures and limitations, allowing this to inform her teaching. Free from her own nasty critic, she can work with her clients towards the ideal instead of expecting them to be ideal right off the bat. Liza likes her sessions to be fun and free moving and the sweaty smiles on her client’s faces says they like it too!

When she’s not teaching Liza is playing cards, hitting the movies, getting lost in a Netflix marathon, eating out, or dancing. She is always laughing (even at my bad jokes), and has a smile that’s worth a million bucks. One of my most dedicated instructors, Liza diligently gets her own Pilates practice in 4-5 times a week. She is truly an inspiration to us all teachers and practitioners alike.

Here’s a few things you might be surprised to find out about Liza:

  • She makes an excellent Chicken Vindaloo from scratch
  • She loves science fiction of any kind
  • She holds a degree is in Molecular Biology (!!!) from Princeton
  • She loves to sing old fashioned Blues and jazz songs

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Guest Post: Raise Your Standards

As Fitness and Health Professionals our top priority is to enhance the lives of others by sharing our wisdom and guiding them to achieve their goals. However, we’re also Business Women (and Men) and we have to make a living. An abundant living, at that! Why? Because we’re worth it.

If we wanted to work for free we would be volunteering. This is our livelihood and in order to successfully transform the lives of our clients, we must first transform our own to embody and exemplify what we teach. As a former Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer (I am no longer in practice as I now focus solely on Health Coaching), I really struggled with sticking to the standards I set for myself. What do I mean? My rates were on a sliding scale and although I had clients sign an agreement form that if they cancelled within 24 hours of our session they would be charged, I never held them to it. I felt like I was doing them a favor by being understanding. That they would like me more because I cut them a break.

Unfortunately, this ended up hurting me more than doing me any good. Clients began to take advantage and would cancel at the last minute knowing I wasn’t going to charge them. I had set the precedent so I felt like I couldn’t go back and began to hold them accountable again. I created this monster! Now I was the one getting screwed out of money and my schedule was incredibly unpredictable.

I finally asked myself, “What am I doing?!” My passion was taking a nose dive and I felt walked all over. My realization was that “I AM WORTH MORE THAN THIS.” I knew I had to take massive action to raise the standards I had set for myself! And once I raised my own bar I could raise it for my clients too. You see, how we hold ourselves accountable and the level of self-love we show ourselves directly translates into our business. Our clients see and feel the vibration we give off. When we come from a place of loving and accepting ourselves fully, we inspire our clients to do the same.

For me, that meant that all of the new clientele I signed on received an overview of the Client Agreement highlighting the cancellation policy so they knew I meant business. I expressed that when we set appointments I expect them to show up, give me the courtesy of a 24 hour cancellation notice or they would be charged their full session price.

Once I set this new standard and held people to it, not only did they fall in line with the policy I set forth, but I started to feel a deeper sense of confidence! I realized that my wishy washy ways of the past reflected my insecurities about successfully running a business and charging premium prices for my services. I knew my skill set and my capabilities, but I had fear around others taking me seriously or believing that I was worth the rates I charged. I finally understood this was just self-doubt and bullshit stories I was telling myself!

The bottom line is this: You Are Worth It. You know what prices your services command and you deserve to be paid accordingly. You are completely justified in holding your clients to the standards you set forth at the beginning of your partnership. In order to grow successfully you must tap into your inner confidence and strength. Give yourself respect and love and you will receive respect and love back.
UntitledMarie Catelli, The Gut Guru, is a Holistic Health Coach guiding women to get to know their body and mind from a gut perspective. How you feel at any given time has everything to do with what’s going on in your gut. When you understand how this affects you in your every day life you are empowered and equipped to make informed decisions about what to eat, when to eat and how to eat. Learn how to trust your gut on a whole new level at www.mariecatelli.com.

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