Category Archives: dreams

work it, girl


it’s in you already

Work it because you’re worth it ::: Manifesting your goals. 

Manifesto, n. : a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer

There is a scene in the beginning of the movie version of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in which all of the girls sit around in a circle in an old church, light candles, and create a manifesto.  A manifesto of what they want their experience to be with the traveling pants; stating to each other the rules, wishes, and desires. While their manifesto isn’t written, it is spoken aloud with great dignity and energy. When they all reunite at the end of the summer they recount their adventures, triumphs, and less than desirable experiences with both the pants and the manifesto of the pants.

The past two weeks we have talked about reflecting on our past year and then setting new goals for this year. This week we will conclude this series with putting our goals into action. How do we make things happen in our lives? How do we live wholly and globally? How do we best show up as ourselves more often than not?

Lucky for you, manifestos aren’t just a thing that happens in movies or books. You too can manifest whatever you want in your life.


(For the sake of examples I’m going to use a goal I had in the past of running 800 miles in one year.)


No, really say it out loud. Tell your people. Your friends, family, Facebook, on the morning announcements at school, your teachers, co-workers, yoga teacher, track coach, hair dresser. Tell all the people. No, really- ALL OF THEM. When we tell our people we get an instant accountability system. There will people (without your prompting) asking you how your goals are coming.  I can’t tell you how many people would ask me if I ran yet today or what my total was for the year so far. The neighbor would see me in the grocery store and would say “Hey, I haven’t seen you running this week. How’s your mileage goal coming?” And instantly I would remember how many people are rooting for me to succeed which would push me forward.


Baby steps. Big goals are going to seem overwhelming. They are going to be intangible, impractical, wild, and so far out there. Until they’re not. 800 miles divided by 52 weeks- about 15 miles a week. And then further- (3) 5 mile runs or (5) 3 miles. And then you look at your week. Where do I have an extra hour 3 times a week? And you plug it into your calendar. Schedule it in. Just write “GT” (goal time).


A vision board, a sculpture, a piece of paper with a drawing that reminds you of your goals, the goals physically written on the mirror, a collage, a pile of rocks, anything. Seriously. My visuals have changed from year to year. I always write them on two separate index cards; one which I keep on my body 95% of the time and another copy above my bed that I see every night and every morning. I have done just about every form of visual– the one that I have found to be most successful for me is to make a cup or a bowl and then eat/drink out of it every day. It brings to mind all the things I want to grow into.

Finally, PowerGirl, be gentle with yourself. You weren’t created overnight and your goals won’t manifest themselves while you sleep either. Time, persistence, and an unwavering knowing of what you want will get you to your goals.

“Everything you need is already inside you. Just do it.”

malala yousafzai: a true hero



Director’s note: Throughout 2014 our thinkpeace girls will be periodically writing for the blog about things and people that inspire them to be active participants in the Global Girl Community. First in this series is a blog written by Sarah Connolly, a 16 year old from Indiana. Moved by another 16 year old, Sarah is committed to helping others… Imagine!

Sometimes, it can be hard to stand up for what you believe in. We live in a world where people are denied many basic rights, and this is not something we should stand for. We should try to spread the word and influence as many people as possible. One girl did exactly this. As Americans, we may or may not be aware of what is going on outside of our own city, state and country. I am here to inform you of a young Pakistani girl’s journey to get her basic rights. This is the story of Malala Yousafzai, a girl who valued her education above all else.

Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997. She was raised in the Swat District of Pakistan and was educated by her father. In Pakistan, the Taliban, a group of government officials who regulate the actions of the residents of the country, had the ability to ban girls from attending school. This outraged Malala, and she would not stand for it. She did not feel that the Taliban had the right to take away her basic right to education just because of her gender.

In 2009, Malala started blogging anonymously for BBC News. They wanted an inside source on how girls felt about being stripped of their rights in the Swat District. It was a dangerous task, but her own father recommended her for the job. On January 15, 2009, the Taliban officially banned girls from attending school. Over one-hundred girls’ schools had already been blown up. The next day, Malala came out in public and read pieces of her blog for the first time.

Schools reopened for girls shortly after, but many were too afraid to attend. Malala continue to speak out, and as soon as her blog ended, she was asked to film a documentary for the New York Times. During the Second Battle of Swat, Malala’s family was entirely split up, but the documentary continued to be filmed. Not long after this, Yousafzai’s father received a death threat from the Taliban. This scared the family, but nevertheless, Malala continued to speak out. Her activism kept increasing, and Malala decided that she wanted to be a politician instead of a doctor. More people were learning of her story, and things seemed to be looking up for her. This would not last for long.

Suddenly, Malala seemed to be receiving more and more death threats. They were published in newspapers, and many were slipped under her door. She even began to receive threats over social media. The Taliban was trying to get her to stop fighting against them, but she continued to speak out. The group agreed that they “must” kill her, and they set out to do so. Malala was shot on October 9, 2012, while riding a bus home from school. She was with two other girls, Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan. Malala was shot in her head, neck, and shoulder, and she was unable to speak. The other girls were wounded, but could still speak about what happened. The girls were rushed to the hospital, and they were all treated with the utmost care.

After the shooting, many protests were held. Over two million people signed a petition for the right to education in Pakistan. This led to the first Right to Education Bill in the country. A ten million rupee ($105,000) reward was put on the heads of the men involved in the assassination attempt. The people of the Swat District really began to start speaking up for their rights.

Malala has impacted and changed many lives, and she is only sixteen years old. July 12th was deemed Malala Day in 2013. This was the day of her first public speech since the attack, and it is also her birthday. Her memoir, I Am Malala, was published in October 2013. Maybe we cannot do everything Malala did, but we can for sure take a stand. Find something you are passionate about and use it to change someone’s life. Start with something in your community, and then take it to a larger level. You never know what you can do. Malala started with an anonymous blog, and now she is one of the most well-known activists and heroines of our time. We can all learn from and be inspired by her story.

From a recent article in PolicMic, here are 12 reasons Malala rocked 2013:

1.   She took the UN by storm on her 16th birthday.                                                                                       2.   She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.                                                                                              3.  She released her captivating memoir, “I am Malala”                                                                              4. She launched her own nonprofit organization, the Malala Fund                                            5. She left Jon Stewart speechless and taught us all about forgiveness                                  6. She sparked a dialogue about the importance of education for children                          7. She was awarded the 2013 UN Human Rights Prize                                                                       8. And the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought                                                                           9. She’s even inspired a school curriculum                                                                                             10. She confronted President Barack Obama about drone strikes                                            11. Her heroic story pushed policymakers on child education                                                12. She’s going to keep inspiring us in 2014

So, thinkpeace girls… how will YOU rock 2014??


goal setting with GARMIN

goal setting

As I sat down to write this blog post, I was quickly interrupted by our 17 year old cat, Samantha. She wanted to be fed and she was going to keep meowing and whining until I did. In her old age Samantha continues to teach me a slew of lessons- the one this morning came with the unrelenting desire to get what she wanted. Goal setting and following through is just like that: you must have an unrelenting desire to get what you want in your life. Now, I’m not suggesting that you whine and meow until you get what you want; I’m suggesting that you keep pushing forward to get what you want.

My friends joke that anytime we talk that it is “Goal setting with GARMIN” because I love love love love setting goals and setting new possibilities for my life and the lives of the people around me. So before we move on, last week we reviewed the past year- the things that worked, didn’t, the things we liked and didn’t and reflected on themes, messages, and patterns. This week we are going to build on that. So, pull out your lists and notebooks.

There are lots of ways to set goals. The one that has worked for me is the BHAG method. BHAG stands for BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOALS. So basically in its essence BHAG means, what would you do if you knew you could not fail? What seems like the most absurd, hardest goal you could ever think of? What have you dreamed of your whole life? What is number 1 on your life list?

Furthermore, setting big massive goals like this can be oh so overwhelming and so I often pick 1 or 2 goals for each of the following categories; emotional, physical, spiritual/religious, and professional/career. So in the end you should have 3-5 BHAGs for the year. Now. Take those goals and double check that they are specific. You are not a vague person and neither should your goals be. Get specific and detailed. Work out the nitty gritty. Vague goals will never get accomplished– I promise you that (and I don’t promise much in life).

I will share the BHAGs I have had in the past. Run a marathon, read the entire Bible, yoga 4x a week, write a hand written letter every week, read a book a month, no carbs (not one I would ever recommend. Ever. Cross that off your list right now), run 800 miles in a year, no reality TV for a year, get a 4.0 GPA, make my own decision about college and not let anyone influence me in my decision, and save ½ of every paycheck. These are just a handful of the ones I’ve set. There are as many types of goals as there are people.

My BHAGs for this year are:

1.  365 challenge/project life.(

→ Take a photo a day for an entire year. If stuck, I will follow the prompts on the project life 365 blog

2.  #missionkilllyme

→I’ve been fighting Lyme disease for a while now. This is the year I will try everything in my power to put it into remission.

3.  Write a letter of gratitude every month

→ In Alaska this past summer I really ‘got’ what gratitude is. It clicked and  infiltrated my body. And now I have to do something with that. I have to send it out into the universe.

4.  Discover one new song/artist a week

→ After losing my iTunes library twice this year my music selection has dwindled significantly. And as an artist, an educator, a yoga teacher I have a responsibility to know what’s up in the music world.


Goals only work if you do. The final step for this week is to put your goals out there; put them out in the universe. Post them below here in the comment section, post them on Facebook, tell your friends, post them on your blog. The universe conspires to make things happen.

“You must do the things you think you cannot do”

So what are you going to do PowerGirl? What seems so crazy that it makes you want to scream? What is the hardest place in your life? Where do you shine?

Stay tuned for next week where we will talk about how to work our goals and manifest what we want into our lives. Happy New Year!!!




root down to rise up

roots and shoots

Root down to rise up; this is probably the most common phrase you will hear in any yoga class. And yet it describes so many different areas of our lives. I think it’s nearly impossible to move forward or grow up and forward if we don’t know where our roots are. That concept is one of the reasons why I love this time of the year– it’s a looking back, reflecting, evaluating, and then moving forward time. This will start a 3 week series on the blog, each week taking on one of these topics; reflecting, setting new goals and intentions, and manifesting. Personally, I think that we as a culture make these tasks so freaking complicated, complex, long, and way too difficult and so in an effort to break that down, I’m going to try my hardest to make this process as simple as possible. I think in the simplicity we can find that this process can be so incredibly helpful in learning to live into our full potential, power, strength, and keep us moving in an upward, unrelenting, forward motion.

This week we reflect. I’ll use myself as an example and then you can do your own reflecting, thinking, and sorting through.  I always love to start with numbers: What were your numbers? What did you do a lot of? What did you do a little bit of? What is an accomplishment to you?

This year I’ve been on 29 flights. I lived in DC, Alaska, and New York. I visited Seattle, San Francisco, and New Paltz for the first time. I went to 4 conferences/professional development workshops. I hiked 3 mountains: West Butte and Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska, and Giant in the Adirondack Park. I only went to the hospital 3 times, 2 for myself. (THIS IS HUGE. The year prior was 11). I read The Lorax aloud approximately 100 times. I worked 253 hours at my cupcake job. I lost my iTunes library twice and I only kissed one person.

Then to the tangibles: What were your goals, if any? How did you do on them?

My goals/intentions for last year were:

1. Yoga 4x a week.

2. Learn Tennis.

3. Camp push up challenge.

4. Practice making friends.

5. Cultivate gentleness.

I think we as a culture can fall into a trap of ultimatums, either yes or no, without any middle ground possible, when really that’s only as true as you make it. And so all my goals and intentions came with the asterisk of trying my best; that’s all the universe can ask of us. With that in mind, I “accomplished” all of them except number 2. As much as I put intention into it, yoga came to the forefront of my life and tennis didn’t come into fruition, and I’m ok with that. We learn, grow, and become the people we are supposed to be at our own pace. My pace this year didn’t include tennis.

Finally, I think the last part to reflecting comes with finding themes: what themes, thoughts, patterns of living, or constants appeared in our lives? What were the hardest moments? What were the easiest moments?  Where did you shine the brightest?

In my life this year the themes that surfaced were finding ease, limiting drama, letting go of things that don’t serve me, finding and expressing gratitude, and being authentically and truly me with no apologies. I think my hardest moments were admitting I need help and then letting people help me; this is still a huge struggle for me. My easiest moments and the moments where I shined the most were at camp in Alaska; I got down, dirty, gritty, and real with the people around me and I taught from my heartspace and not my headspace.

And so where does all that reflecting leave us? What’s next? I think it’s more thinking, processing, lingering, and reflecting until next week when we will transfer those thoughts into actions for the next year. What do you want more of in this next year? What do you want less of? What isn’t serving you and your life? What makes you oh so happy?



(Intern’s note: This is the third interview in our ‘Possibilities’ series here on the thinkpeace blog.  We believe it is just as important to share our own stories as it is to hear about other powerful women who are living into their own greatness. They show us that no matter our age, financial situation, location, abilities, or stage of life, you can create possibility for your life. In my life, ceramics teachers have been the people who most encourage me to change or put a spark in me to live bigger. My current ceramics teacher, Akemi, has done exactly that. I’ve made work this semester that I could never have dreamed possible. And on a side note, I have to say that Akemi has the coolest sense of style of almost anyone I’ve ever met!)

Meet PowerGirl Akemi Maegawa

The Interview:



Nickname in Middle School or High School?


What did you want to be when you were growing up?

International traveler

What do you want to be now/what are you doing?

I do what I like to do now.

Flavor of Ice Cream that most describes you (not your favorite… the one that describes you)


How would you describe yourself in one word?


If you could flashback to your high school self would you tell her anything? If so, what?

Keep on going. You are doing great.

What do you love most about yourself?

That I have empathy.

Which one person has changed the course of your life? And why?

My husband. He saved me from my worst physical and psychological condition from my previous life and walked with me all the way to find myself again.

How do you motivate yourself?

I listen to my body and mind; eat well and sleep well.

How do you live into your full potential? How do you go after what you still want to be?

I try to fully appreciate what I have now and show my appreciation to the people around me. I do believe in the synergy effect and I believe an immeasurable happiness can be achieved only by sharing with others, not by keeping things or ability for myself. I want to find out how happy and excited we can be as human beings.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing girls in the world? How can we change the course of this?

The world is so big and girls live differently in different countries and different cultures. In some countries girls do not have basic human rights and they are treated like slaves or family commodities. That has to be stopped. Education is the only way to change this.

What’s next in your life for you? What is the next big action in your life? Change? A plan or goal that’s big?

I do not have any big plan or goal. I live one day at a time and try to do right things every day. One step is a small step but I think everything starts from the one step. When I have a chance to do something positive, I try to take an action instead of just thinking or talking. Moving one step further everyday towards the direction I want to go with all my friends and families will eventually lead to a big happy society and the world. To die in a better society is my goal.

for the women: YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

So, why are we having a  thinkpeace workshop for women?

It has been a funky few weeks. Some people have said that Mercury is in retrograde. Others have said that humanity is slipping into an abyss and that there’s nothing that can be done about it. What I have seen and felt is that there’s a real negative energy vibe going on… and I think there is a way to break that and cultivate positivity in our own lives and that of others. Liz and I have frequently been asked to do a thinkpeace workshop for women. The time has arrived! Recently we’ve had conversations with some of our teen thinkpeace girls about issues they’re facing and have realized that we continue to deal with similar ones as adult women. This tells us that there are tools that we need to learn and utilize as adult women so that when we encounter road blocks on our life paths, we have the inner resources to face them. We believe that women continuously struggle with the idea that we are not enough. Because of that, we all too often cut each other down as a means of building our selves up. The simple truth is that YOU are important! Now, how can you get to a place of believing that truth?

Have you ever felt that if you put anything ‘out there’ that wasn’t facebook perfect, people would judge you?  So many of us are afraid to share our deepest selves. What if you had a place where you could be completely open with yourself, a place to shine light into the cracks of you? At the thinkpeace womens weekend workshop you’ll express yourself and let all those inner truths out through art and writing, sharing and movement. We’ll explore some Yin– a single still yoga posture which becomes a time of inner reflection, meditation and, hopefully, peace. The nervous system is calmed, the mind stilled, and in this state the body returns to its natural healthy rhythm. This type of yoga is how we will start our day, and close it. We’ll take this time to focus on breathwork, and self-compassion.  We will create vision boards and guidebooks– works of art that express what we hope to manifest in our lives. Sharing these ideas with other dynamic women will crack us open and inspire us to go deeper. Have you ever had moments where your mind just seems to spin around and never quiet down? Has this kept you from feeling capable and worthy and falling into the belief that that there is this magic something that you have to do or be before you can feel at peace? Yin and art expression will start you on a journey…

Welcome to thinkpeace workshop for women. The truth is EVERYONE IS VALUABLE; EVERYONE IS IMPORTANT. It is not a competition and you don’t get more points by dissing someone else.  What if we behaved as if we were as valuable as we think others are? What if we all treated each other with great respect? At our weekend workshop you will be met with kindness and the community of women around you will share of themselves and be curious about you. Through one-on-one sharing and small group interaction, we will break down the barriers that women inevitably put up. We will create an environment of trust and support as lifetime friendships are created.  Thinkpeace workshop for women is a place to allow yourself to be vulnerable, feel deeply, share and support in safety, and learn to trust yourself and others.

We are meant to feel peace. We are meant for joy, creativity and life… not the kind of life that you merely endure each day– the kind of life that makes you shine! If you are having difficulty finding ease in your life, and knowing how to provide it for yourself, it is time to hit the reset button!  Peace and ease aren’t found in the validation or acceptance of others, they aren’t found in acquiring things, and they aren’t found in breaking the glass ceiling or in the adoration of our children and their successes. It won’t be found after you have proven your worthiness in some way, or after you have given enough or worked enough or dieted enough or swallowed your own voice often enough. It is not found after you have been accepted into some social circle or relationship. We have created art projects for this workshop that will help us get our hearts and souls focused on things that are beautiful and light, colorful and deep. They will help us figure out what really is true for each of us and how to hold onto that when the going gets rough. The reality is that soul-deep peace is found in your very own truth… the real stuff. The stuff that we tend to keep in a closet because of fear– fear of acceptance, fear of rejection, fear of being seen as not being enough. It’s time to let it out and be who we are meant to be: joyful, creative sparks!

The truth is, you are important and are a gift to the world. When you hold your head up high, and walk through life knowing your truth, you give others hope and that they can do the same. We will share that strength with women around the world through our work on The Pad Project. It’s the thinkpeace philosophy: that our connection with ourselves makes us better equipped to reach out and give to others. Our common experience as women with cycles connects us and yet, women in developing countries are not as fortunate with sanitary options to protect their bodies and ensure opportunities for education and employment because of their periods. We will create reusable pads that will give them the freedom to pursue their hopes, needs, and dreams. You really can and will make a difference.

What if you could do the things that open your heart to the kind of woman you want to be,  the kind of person that you admire and respect and have an opportunity to support women less fortunate than you? What if you could think peace for a weekend that you then carry within you for a lifetime… Open your heart to it. Step into it. Hold hands with it. Dance with it. Sing out loud about it. You, yes you, are important! Bring your vulnerable, unsure, hurt, curious, brave, noble, unselfish, complicated self to thinkpeace workshop for women. Think it. Create it. Share it. Grow with us– the best is yet to be. Imagine!


(Intern’s note: We are starting a new series here on the blog this week, ‘Possibilities’. It is just as important to share our own stories as it is to hear about other powerful women who are living into their own greatness. They show us that no matter our age, financial situation, location, abilities, or stage of life, you can create possibility for your life. This week we kick it off with my dear friend, Joyce Mitchelson. Joyce is a fantastic PowerGirl who goes to my yoga studio here in DC. I am going to let Joyce speak for herself and yet, I have to say that Joyce is on my list of top 5 people who give the best hugs 🙂 )


PowerGIrl Joyce

Meet PowerGirl Joyce Mitchelson

The Interview:


Nickname in Middle School or High School?
“J. Gray”  My fraternity (co-ed fraternity) name is way exciting and spot-on in terms of who I have always been, but I can’t reveal it 🙂

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I never really had a clear, fixed idea of what, exactly, I wanted to be when I grew up. I just knew that I wanted to be just like my mom: powerful, resilient, generous and loving.

What do you want to be now/what are you doing?
I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up (!oops!)
I do a few things right now:
1) Work full-time at Georgetown University in the Graduate School office.
2) Serve on the board of directors for my family’s non-profit organization, Family & Leadership Empowerment Network. (It’s awesome.)
3) Yoga Teacher Assistant
4) Basic yoga studio maintenance (Karma Krew)
5) Sometimes I pet-sit.

Flavor of Ice Cream that most describes you (not your favorite… the one that describes you)?
I haven’t had ice cream in a long time, so I can’t remember the flavors well. But the dessert that best describes me right now is raw chocolate mousse: dark, rich, alive and potent. 🙂

How would you describe yourself in one word?

If you could flashback to your high school self would you tell her anything? If so, what?
“Change is not linear, and it’s OK for change to take time.”

What do you love most about yourself?
My insatiable hunger for learning and exploring.

Which one person has changed the course of your life? And why?
My life has never been about one fixed time where one single person alone made a huge shift in my life. Even in terms of “home,” I lived with different people, so that creates many opportunities for significant impact from a large number of people. Over the course of my life, I’ve had so many family members, teachers, mentors, colleagues, friends and even strangers drop profound, life-changing nuggets in my world, whether over many years or in a single moment. I’ve had “good” or “happy” experiences that have shifted me and I have had difficult experiences that have catapulted me forward in life.

How do you motivate yourself?
By surrounding myself with people who are going for more in life. That includes following people or groups on Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram, etc.) that always have something healthy and positive to say.

On the blog and in staff meetings we have been talking about being a “YES!” to our lives… what does this mean to you?
Not holding back and doubting myself. Trusting my instincts and acting on them.

Current song that puts you into a ‘state of possibilities’ or pumps you up?
“Brave” by Sara Bareilles

What do you think is the biggest issue facing girls in the world? How can we change the course of this?
One major issue is just BEING ENOUGH, simply put. Whatever the circumstance, that seems to be a recurring issue. We’re not physically enough (too big, too small, too light, too dark, too modest, too flashy), not enough intellectually, not enough in the workforce (still getting paid less than men for the same exact work), too rich or too poor, not enough in family (whatever the role). “OMG you’re a virgin.” “OMG you’re NOT a virgin???” “Your sexual identity is WHAT???” …. never being enough.
Two thoughts I have on how to change the course of this:
1) Personally/Small scale: Telling each other that we are enough. Showing each other that we are enough. We need to constantly plant those seeds in each other and actually act on them.
2) Large scale: Equal rights, access and treatment (whatever that means in a given situation)
Both of these solutions require the participation of all gender identities, all people, because we do not live in isolation.

What’s your next bold move?
Going to New York, a part of the state I’ve never been, staying with a woman I don’t know and engaging whole-heartedly in Baron Baptiste’s The Art of Assisting training even though my body is in some weird pain right now. I call this bold, because it took me forever to save up the money for this, I’m going alone, I don’t know anyone, and my body is in pain right now. I’m scared and nervous, but I’m going anyway, because I love assisting and I believe that following my passion leads me to my own truth AND to more opportunities to serve others.

living into “YES!”

(Hi friends I have yet to meet. My name is GARMIN and I am thinkpeace’s newest intern. My bio can be found on the “about us” page. I’d love to hear from you– email me at

“All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you’re not good enough or strong enough or talented enough; they will say you’re the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. THEY WILL TELL YOU NO, a thousand times no, until all the no’s become meaningless. All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly. AND YOU WILL TELL THEM YES.”

Last week, in one of my grad education classes, the teacher asked the class to journal about the following question: “How do you motivate yourself?” A seemingly daunting question with the potential to add a lot of educational jargon, I dove right in. If there is one thing I’m really good at, it’s motivating- both myself and others.

I wish I had a fun, silly, engaging story to tell you about how I learned to motivate myself and others… alas, I don’t. I have a series of small events where people consistently told me “No”. And I told them, “YES! Just watch me!”

The first doctor I visited after I received my diagnosis of a herniated disk in my back told me I would never be able to walk again if I had surgery. 6 months after surgery (from a different doctor) I ran my first ½ marathon. 1 year after that I ran my first marathon. Guess what I said when the first doctor told me I would never walk again? “Just watch me.” During my time at Emma Willard School many people doubted I would ever graduate from high school or go to a good college. “Just watch me,” I said. Now graduated and in one of the best art schools in the country, I think I won that battle. My gym teacher in high school said I would never be fit. “Just watch me” followed that conversation; here I am 100 pounds lighter. Two falls ago, the head of the “academic” department in my school told me that I couldn’t possibly handle a 4000 level class as a second year. Again, “just watch me.” I got my advisor to sign off on an alternate path for my degree, and here I am, the only person in the entire class who received an A. After my car accident last January the police officer that arrived on the scene told me I should be dead. I’m here, happily alive.

You see, we wake up every morning and we have a choice: to live in possibility and say “yes, bring it on” or to let it defeat us. We must take care of ourselves first in order to be the best global change maker girls we can possibly be. We need to show up to ourselves and our lives with enthusiasm and zest. And personally, I think living in possibility and the YES! is way more fun.

And so I present GARMIN’S tips to motivating yourself and living in possibility.

1. Make your bed each morning.
I know. I know. Who wants to make their bed??? Nobody. Let me tell you, coming home to a freshly made bed to climb into at night makes all your hard work during the day so much more rewarding because you don’t have to fight with covers.

2. Find ritual and sacred space.
For me it is my morning routine. God help you if you interrupt me while I’m drinking my first cup of coffee. And it is my Sunday night paint-your-toes-and-watch-a-chick-flick mojo builder. Find your sacred spaces– those places that help ground you and keep you moving in an upward unrelenting forward motion. It could be a physical place, or an emotional space. Maybe it’s your morning run or your yoga practice or journaling or even reading a good book.

3. Sing.
No. Really go sing. Sing in the shower. Sing when you’re making your breakfast, running, walking to class, lying in bed, driving in the car or on the bus, and when you are adventuring. Just sing. My therapist friend says that singing actually stimulates our memory and it releases the good chemicals that make you happy. Below is one of my PowerGirl playlists. Consider making your own!

live into the “YES!” PowerGirl from sarah.gettman on 8tracks Radio.

4. Sort out your priorities.
Is it really that important that you wear matching clothes? I don’t know what the things you struggle with in your life are, but try bringing ease to them. Ask yourself if they are that important… let the things that you dream about come to the top of your priorities list.

5. Finally, if all else fails, watch youtube videos of other people living into their own possibility.

It’s really that simple. Change is choice. Your choices lead to possibility and could make your every step more monumental. So go forth PowerGirl– live in possibility!!!

finding peace in the face of tragedy

Our hearts ache.  Recently our thinkpeace communities in New York and California have been rocked by tragedy.  Several teen lives have been lost senselessly and horrifically.  As we struggle with our shock and sadness, we are also overcome with compassionate tenderness for the families of these beautiful young people.  We can find peace and strength in the outpouring of love and care in our communities as kids and parents gather to grieve. Even if we didn’t know these kids personally, we are all affected by their stories and the pain of their families. We are connected by our shared sorrow.

Holding onto each other and the awareness of the fragility of life allows us to be truly mindful. In the days to come we can honor Chris, Deanna and Leyla by living in this moment, fully and reverently. What we can do, today, to find peace in the face of all this tragedy is to be mindful. Mindful when we wake up. Mindful when we take that first stretch. Mindful when we greet each other. Mindful as we post on facebook or twitter. Mindful as we eat. Mindful as we learn. Mindful as we shop. Mindful as we drive. Mindful as we look at our family at the dinner table.  Grateful.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

-Mary Oliver

What we know for sure is that each of us matters. Each of us, alive today, is able to be splendid: to care for another, to laugh out loud, to paint our visions, to speak our minds, to dance with abandon, to give of ourselves, and to simply breathe. Use every moment.


what life is showing you

There’s this sappy song that’s been playing in my head all week that goes like this, “Do you know where you’re going to… do you like the things that life is showing you?”  Most of the time I feel fortunate to have an idea where I’m going to and I feel pretty privileged when I see what life is showing me.  “Do you get what you’re hoping for, when you look behind you there’s no open doors… what are you hoping for, do you know?”  I hope for a world where all girls have a right to an education, choice, safety, health, and opportunity.   I envision a world where women come together as peacemakers and create cohesive communities where all people are valued, counted, and heard.  I hope that fear and ignorance will be replaced by tolerance and acceptance.

Sometimes, though, when I look out into the world, I don’t like what it’s showing me after all.  When I read about the ongoing atrocities around the world, especially against women and children, it’s hard for me to hold onto where I thought I was going to… this work with girls, raising awareness and global sensitivity feels like a mere drop in the bucket at times.  Girls are still being forced into child marriages, poisoned, mutilated, or raped when they try to go to school or stand up for themselves.  Women are still not being valued in many parts of the world.  It’s easy to wonder:  am I making a difference?   When I do not get what I’m hoping for, I look to the kids around me for strength.  I am never disappointed.

A girl refocused me today.  Her name is Hadia.  She’s a 14 year old from Afghanistan.  A year ago she knew where she was going:  to New York to study, learn and become.  The arrangements were made; her bags were packed.  Her visa was denied.  Her dreams were shaken.  And when she looked around her all she saw were closed doors.  Unwilling to stop hoping and stop pursuing her future, Hadia determined to study harder, learn deeper, and become more.  We chatted online today and I found myself completely uplifted and inspired by this young woman and her true grit.

Grit is defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”  Hadia has this in spades!  Despite living every day with the uncertainty of the future of her country, she carries on.  She walks to school wondering whether or not today might be the last day she will freely do so.  She worries about girls in her country who are being poisoned at their schools by those who believe that girls have no right to an education.  She thinks about the possible return of the Taliban and what that means for girls and women in Afghanistan.  Life is showing her that each day is a golden opportunity that must be seized.  Life is showing her that she must remain strong, focused, and passionate about her goals.

Hadia showed me where I am going.  I am going back to work.  I hear her voice, value her goals, and support her commitment.  She is studying today,  learning about the world, and becoming a global girl.   Thinkpeace Workshop advocates for girls around the world so that all girls have the right to be counted, safe, educated, valued, and healthy.  I’m watching my daughter study for exams, thinking about Hadia, and realizing once again that we are all connected, all in this together, and oh so capable of being the change we wish to see.  Do I know where I’m going to, do I like the things that life is showing me, do I get what I’m hoping for…?  Only if I stay as full of grit as my dear Hadia.

What is life showing you?