Author Archive

Five Steps to A Peaceful Body

Friday, September 20th, 2019

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Learning how to walk in the way that heals my hip at the Core Walking Program at Casa Wallace.

I’m here at a Core Walking Yoga Retreat learning how to walk in a way that can heal this increasingly worse hip challenge I’ve had for the past two years. Some of the program has been damn hard and quite uncomfortable. Some of it has been truly life-changing. What I have come to realize is I can make peace with this body as it is right now – regardless of whatever challenge du jour I am experiencing.

The media, and messaging we grow up with, especially as women (but even men these days) wants to make something “wrong” with our bodies. Every day we are told this habit or that habit is bad for us. One day eating breakfast is mandatory to live a healthy life. The next day you’re advised to fast for 14 hours between the last meal of the previous day and your next meal. I even have well-meaning friends or family shaming me at times for my habits and preferences.

I have noticed that whenever I have gone to the doctor, even when I was pretty darn close to my ideal weight, I was told to lose weight. I’ve heard, if you’re overweight, some doctors refuse to even treat you. Yet there are studies that show overweight people get more prompt care in the emergency rooms and actually have better outcomes when they arrive at the emergency room with heart attack symptoms. So it seems like no matter what state your body is in, it’s highly likely someone somewhere isn’t going to be there for you the way you most need it at the time.

Looking for external validation on my body, no matter what condition my body is in, though is just not required to achieving a peaceful body. I learned long ago, I’m not likely going to get validation from “experts.” I don’t find fault with them as they exist to find things wrong with you. Nor is it anyone else’s job to bolster my self-esteem and how I feel about my body – this is an inside job.

I have realized at this retreat, I can make peace with my body, just the way it is.

Based on what I’ve learned on inhabiting this body for almost six decades now, here are my five reminder tips on how to get and sustain a peaceful body:

  1. Find an exercise practice (or several) that I actually enjoy doing, that brings me peace. For me, my heart is at peace, when I’m loving and enjoying who I am in the moment. Sometimes that is doing yoga with friends, other times it’s a walk in the woods with my dogs. I prefer to set my own goals and reach for those things that are meaningful to me.
  2. Accept, enjoy, respect, and love myself exactly the way I am, have been and will be. If was supposed to have been anything other than who I am, I would have. Achieving vibrant good health is a mindset and is possible no matter what is going on with my body in the moment.
  3. Recognize that whatever my body is experiencing has an uplifting and empowering message for me. This is different than a “story.” How do I know the difference? My story on this hip was filled with either blame or justification allowing myself to get further behind the eight ball on healing. I did the blame shame game for “letting myself go.” And I justified this by making excuses about how I was just too busy with life to really do anything about it. The “message” on the other hand makes me feel empowered and inspired. Hearing the message and allowing it to be my guide shows me various inspiring and uplifting solutions to resolve whatever issue I’m experiencing. Even when I can find advisors who can help me better tune into my experiences, I am the final decision maker on anything that goes on for my body. The message on the other hand, when I tuned into it. said – “go do something you’ll have fun at to get on the other side of this hip issue.” That is how I found the life-changing Core Walking Program at the incredible Casa Wallace holistic retreat facility in Northern Italy.
  4. Be mindful of how I care and nurture my body – I only get one body. How I take care of me, is 100% my responsibility. It’s not anyone else’s job to take care of me – not what parents did or did not do for me, not my children, not my partner, not my friends, and most certainly not anyone in the medical profession. I do what is right for me while loving myself just the way I am. For example – I am an omnivore and a foody. A standard yoga retreat that served only Vegan or Vegetarian food didn’t sound like fun to me. I need to honor who I am and live in the way that brings me happiness. Others have their own journey.
  5. Tune in to my inner voice on what my body needs in the moment. Mix it up and try various approaches to feeling fantastic. Variety is the spice of life so I try different ways of being, eating and moving, that keep me engaged in the flow of life.

The way I enjoy caring for my body is as individual as I am. It’s a part of growing and changing to experience various types of existence. I’m giving the “Peaceful Body” approach a whirl for a while to see what it creates for me.

Expanding Your Brain Capacity for Peace Like a Yogi

Friday, September 6th, 2019

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Expanding the Capacity of Your Brain for Peace Like a Yogi

I’ve been thinking a lot about thinking lately as I jump into the foray of teaching skills to become more peaceful as a people. Expanding our capacities for peace is very much about the capabilities of our mind. For example, in the Peace Leader Academy Taming Your Triggers class, it takes a desire to even go into the realm of being triggered to develop the capacity not to be triggered. For many people, they have created all types of ways to avoid being triggered, as it’s such an uncomfortable emotional experience.

In Michael Singer’s book “The Untethered Soul” he talks about the “thorn” that we put layers and layers upon to protect our selves from its sharp edges. Our triggers are our thorns. Yet it is the “protecting” layers that keep us limited by our limitations.

I’ve been watching in fascination as people are attacking the presidential candidate Marianne Williamson about her “praying” for hurricane victims. What I’m seeing in their snarky comments are the protective layering from people traumatized by religiosity over the years. Having been there myself, I can hardly blame them. However, I also realize it’s a trigger that if tamed, could expand their capacity for being peaceful way beyond their current state. After all, the most important person to realize the value of an expanded capacity for peace is yourself. This is why we made the “Taming Your Triggers” ten-hour online class the first one in the Peace Maker Program. Taming your triggers expands your brain’s capacity for peace.

And this gets me to the purpose of this blog post – Expanding Your Brain Capacity for Peace Like a Yogi. In yoga teacher training, I learned several key concepts when creating a yoga class. One is to gradually ramp people into the class’ “peak pose.” This is the pose that takes special warm-up and capability to achieve. The other is that while the goal of yoga may seem to stretch beyond what we’re currently capable of doing, the real purpose is to only stretch far enough to find your true resting place of comfort and ease.

The challenge with doing this with your brain, is you’re only going to go as far as you’ll allow yourself to deal with your triggers. You’ll stay locked into a small world of comfort and ease to make sure that your triggers are not going to be tripped. For those trying to get people into a “peak pose” of expanded consciousness, we have to adjust what that “peak pose” can be.

Just like in teaching yoga, you must be able to offer your students levels of difficulty of poses. As not everyone comes to class at the same capability level based on a number of factors – body type, depth of their practice, challenges of the day, etc. In helping people expand their brain capacity, my fellow blogger Luna Clair and I yesterday came up with three levels of brain expansion capability.

  1. Conventional Wisdom – this is the level that most people have seen or heard and can buy into with minimal trigger tripping or triggers that are surface enough to easily work through.
  2. Mostly Mavericks – this level of people like being charged and see it for the catalyzing energy it does offer. They are the “bring” it folks who want more.
  3. Meta Humans – at this level these folks want to go way out there to expand the realms of their consciousness and mind power. They’ll dive into the depths of what holds them back drinking whatever Koolaid is required to get past their self-created limitations. We call these folks “seekers.”

There are levels in between these three – but for our purposes, we’re going to frame our work in these blogs to these three levels of exploration. Just like a good yoga class, we want to be able to stretch people to their edges so they can expand their place of comfort and ease – at whatever level they join us.

Unfriending Facebook

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

I have been contemplating my life with and without Facebook. On a recent trip I got stranded in Denver for a day. Three flights cancelled. I ended up flying to San Francisco and driving back to Reno.

Several days later, I had a pop up on my iphone that showed me how much time I had spent on various apps. That day I was stranded in Denver – 8 hours on Facebook. When I looked at all the other things I could have done with that 8 hours – I realized, time to make some changes.

So I gradually started to look at all the ways Facebook had overtaken my life. I was a heavier advertiser on it for the business – spending over $200k in the past nine years. We evaluated was it really helping? No. The amount of money we spent on our advertising campaigns generated about five times the leads of our google adwords campaigns. Yet these leads were fifty times less likely to convert. Considering my sales staff was required to follow up with these leads – lets add in those costs as well.

Then let’s look at the scammers who are on facebook. Medusa Marketing weaseled $15k out of me before I pulled the plug on them after failing to deliver time after time after time. We found them through a Facebook ad and had retained them to run more effective ad campaigns on Facebook. They never even got the correct landing pages developed. I do have a complaint in with the Attorney General in Texas on this company. This company switched the main contact point for me no fewer than five times in three months.

But the last straw for advertising on Facebook wasn’t lack of performance, it was Facebook’s shady billing practices. I had stopped all my campaigns. Deleted all my payment methods. Yet a few days ago, I noticed on a card I had used several times on that account six months ago, charged $377 by Facebook. How could they charge that card and for an account that had no campaigns running? I went to check out the ad site and several event campaigns were running but there were still no cards associated with the account. I called the bank and cancelled that card.

I’m not one to buy into the big brother has all your data you better beware fear mongering about Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple. I call it a “hiding in plain sight” strategy. However I am now rethinking this after the Facebook billing practice where they can go after a card I had deleted off the account. That wasn’t even showing up as a card associated with the account.

But it wasn’t just the billing practices – it was also what Facebook had turned my life into. Instead of connecting with life as it was presenting itself all around me, I was connecting with people who weren’t around me via Facebook. I did enjoy getting reconnected with friends from years gone by – like my French horn playing buddy from the High School Band. It was fun to see his life evolve, his work travels, his new wife – it was like as my brand strategist Carey Earle used to say “Voyeur View.” But what about the view from the seat where I was sitting right here right now – living where I am breathing in the present moment?

And then there was the shocking media stories that friends posted all slanted in the way their opinions slanted. Was I becoming one of the sheeples – following whatever line of thinking the loudest voices in my friend network were expressing? I think this is what is meant by the bubble. Where I started having negative thoughts about others who had ideas outside of what was in the bubble of views I had curated.

I have a great friend of over 25 years who is my neighbor – he has views that are outside of this bubble. Yet I listen to him and together we find common ground. In person, over tea, or when visiting each other’s gardens (this is literal, not metaphorical). A real connection with a real person, real time. We both leave these exchanges more uplifted rather than depressed or despondent – better able to deal with others with different ideas than our own.

That isn’t what happened for me with Facebook. I would read the threads on controversial posts and see the hate and venom about different ideas. I’d see friends get all in a lather about the “trolls” posts. My ire would be activated as well. I would unfriend or be unfriended by those who’s views upset me.

Was this the way I wanted to continue living my life? What would happen if I got off of Facebook all together? There is some good stuff on there. It’s the way this small community I live in stays connected. There is the Haines Buy Sell Trade – come to think of it I did get a plow truck off there but then I sold the plow truck as the maintenance on it was a hassle, it was just one more thing the caretaker was not taking care of (damaging it instead and using it when he needed to be using his own vehicle). I now have my neighbor plow my driveway. I can use Craigslist to unload stuff I no longer need.

I will miss seeing where my neighbors are traveling to when they are not in Haines. But then I can catch up with them at the Post Office or the hardware store or the grocery store when we are in the same town together. I can visit with them over a tea at the Mountain Market and we can share the pictures on our phones of our travels since we last connected. I’ve already had several people I haven’t heard from in a while reach out to me since I left Facebook. We’ve updated our phone numbers, addresses, and are having more meaningful dialog. Real connection, real time, real friends.

Goodbye Facebook – it’s been an interesting ride.

The Folly and Value of Chasing Money – January 11, 2018

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

It’s never about the money – it’s about the goal behind the money. I discovered this by actually focusing on the money.

On a recent road trip with my adventure buddy from Arizona to Nevada, we listened to an audiobook called “You are a Badass at Making Money.”  The author, Jen Sincero, is a life coach and had some very interesting ideas that could actually be applied to achieving any goal – yet most often there is a tendency to focus on the one measurement of success with our goals – and that is of making money.

I often play around with various manifestation ideas just to see what will happen. From listening to this book, I was inspired to set an aggressive goal to pull in $300k in two days – did what the book suggested and became like the crazed goats she talks about that broke into a home she was renting. The goats broke down the door when she was out running an errand and destroyed the place in no time flat in a way that only crazed goats could do.

I didn’t pull in the $300k in two days.  But what I did do was far more valuable. I got very clear on the reason for this other seriously out there goal.  Several years ago, I challenged myself to help 2 million people activate their innate genius, cultivate their talents and share their gifts with the world.  Can you imagine what this world would be like if we were all being the best versions of ourselves, generating consistently great results just by being yourself?

With my Cheetah Learning team, we created a 60 hour online self-paced program called the Cheetah Certified Project Manager to help people become the best versions of themselves.  It’s based on our two books Cheetah Project Management and Cheetah Negotiations and uses an accelerated learning technique we created called “Personality Based Learning.” The reason the program to help create a better world is about project management is that to change anything requires doing projects.  To create these beacons for a better world – the CCPM’s – they need to get great at picking the projects that are right for them.  They need to do those projects in a way that best leverages their innate genius making them very influential change agents.  And they need to engage other people to help them achieve their goals in a way that activates their best and highest good as well.  This is what people master when they become Cheetah Certified Project Managers.  So far we’ve had a whole wide range of people become CCPM’s – from high school students to people late in their career with advanced degrees.  We’ve even had retirees take the leap late in life to become the best versions of themselves to create a better world.

In the Badass book she suggests writing a letter to money – to get clear on all the associations we place on money that really are not about the money. For me, the money associated with achieving the goal of 2 million people becoming Cheetah Certified Project Managers is daunting.  In the past, we made significant sums of money with Cheetah Learning – it actually felt quite constraining.  It’s called the “trappings of wealth” for a reason.

I’m now far more excited about helping two million people become the beacons for a better world.  Something shifted for me in setting that aggressive goal of making $300k in two days.  It’s so not about the money for me – it’s about the goal, it’s about making a difference, it’s about creating a better world.  The money, well that is something I’m learning how to use for the betterment of the world as well.  I”ve shifted from it being a huge responsibility to it being a huge privilege. I feel more capable now to better answer this higher calling to create a better world.

Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – December 21, 2017 – Happy Solstice

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Sunrise over the SE Alaskan Coastal Mountain Range on Winter Solstice – at 9:37 AM.

I captured this very rare picture this morning at 9:37 AM.  Rare for a couple of reasons.  The first one is it’s rarely sunny un SE Alaska on Winter Solstice to even see the sun rising.  Yes we can tell it’s daylight, but we often don’t see the sun here for weeks on end in the winter.  The second reason is because I’m rarely here on solistice.  This year it was a fluke as I was up here working on this yoga/cooking studio.   In year’s past I’ve been in Hawaii visiting my father or just arriving in Haines for the holidays a day or two after winter solistice.

I have been doing a month long tribute to my late father on the Cheetah Learning blog.  Today I wrote about his love of sunrises and how he fostered my love of travel, adventure, and nature.  You can read about it at https://www.cheetahlearning.com/wp/share-the-love-catching-the-sunrise-december-21-2017/.

I’m very grateful for my community in Haines, Alaska – for always welcoming me home with open arms, no matter for how long I’ve been gone.  This is where my heart is the happiest and I am so lucky to call here home.

I’m wrapping up the attitude of gratitude for 2017 posts.  I am going to focus the next couple of weeks on enjoying my friends and families in the here and now with the holidays.  May you enjoy this time of year in the way that brings you the most peace, love, and happiness.

Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – December 20, 2017 – Rattlesnakes

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Rattlesnakes deserve respect, not fear. It is possible to happily co-exist with things that can be dangers, when you know how to mitigate the potential of their threat.

I saw this “Beware of Rattlesnakes” sign when I was playing in a golf event with my new friend and banker Jean Perpich from Wells Fargo back in May.  I had left Wells Fargo 8 years earlier when there was a significant misunderstanding with their risk management department and $85,000 of our course registrations.  After collecting tens of millions of dollars in course registrations for my business over seven years, suddenly we were such a risk, they were going to hold this $85,000 for six months to make sure we delivered on the courses for which our students had registered. They did this while I was on vacation in Italy.

I came up with the idea to refund all of those students their money and re process their registrations through a different merchant account and settle it into a different bank.  And thus, we ended our long term relationship with Wells Fargo.   So what changed now eight years later that had me move our banking business back to Wells Fargo?  Two things.  First was a general dissatisfaction with the numerous other banks with which we had used since we left Wells Fargo.  Several had gone under over night throwing our whole business into a scramble, others had archaic technology systems that made even simple banking activities exceptionally difficult.  Besides the credit card fiasco and one other egregious incident, our relationship with Wells Fargo had gone extremely well.   Next, Wells Fargo had just gone through a huge upheaval because of increasingly bad behavior and they were on a new path to remediate themselves.  I figured now was a great time to give them another chance.

Taking another chance on Wells Fargo and meeting Jean Perpich has proven to be a good call.  Jean stays on top of our accounts, periodically reaches out to me,  introduces me to other business owners in town, and has been good counsel with handling the banking elements of the business. With banking these days, it can seem like it’s a pick your poison situation.  There are rattlesnakes everywhere, it pays to know how to mitigate their dangers.

 

Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – December 19, 2017 – Being an Entrepreneur

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Getting ready to prototype the Five Star Picnic Idea.

While this picture may just look like I’m off on a biking adventure, it is really me testing out an idea I had to lead biking lunch tours up at Lake Tahoe in early May.  In early April I had been accepted as a part time biking tour guide in Haines, Alaska.  Then two weeks later, my assistant who had been with me for nine and a half years gave her two weeks notice.  So I felt I needed to stay focused on my main business and stay in the lower 48.  I had made a friend in the winter who was watching my dogs who was leading snow shoeing tours in Tahoe and she loved the idea of doing biking lunch tours with me at Tahoe.  I was disappointed I would not be doing the bike tours in Alaska, and looked into leading bike tours that included a gourmet lunch at the lake.  This was where the idea of “Five Star Picnics” was born.

As many ideas do, this one expanded to being like a 1-800-flowers idea but for picnics.  I researched the possibilities for doing this, did a five force analyis on the whole idea, and then realized, yeah, fun idea, but no, I’m going to take a pass on this one.  It would be too easy for a large specialty grocery store to copy the idea and put all my efforts to waste.  The picnic biking idea would require a commercial kitchen and a level of oversight that would make the business onerous.  If I was already in the food service business, this would be a nice extension service.  But I have made a conscious choice not to be in the food service business.  I’m more about cooking lessons, cook books, and menu designs/planning for the events we run – rather than being in the food delivery business.

I did learn some new things about event planning and promotions tools that exist on social media that make it much easier to do business start up.  I also learned that in a resort town like South Lake Tahoe, it’s still the relationships you need to cultivate with the conceirges at the area hotels that can make your specialty tour business work more than how well you can craft a clever social media campaign.  Since I don’t have a huge presence in Lake Tahoe, that also made it more difficult to get something like this off the ground.

I am very grateful I’ve had extensive seasoning in business start up so that I can run with an idea for a little while and bail on it – feeling glad not bad. I recognize how hard earlier versions of me had to work to get Cheetah Learning to the stable mature business it is today. And I’m grateful that Cheetah Learning continues to be such a strong, viable business, even with losing a key player that was critical for it’s operation.

 

Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – December 18, 2017 – Random Acts of Nature

Monday, December 18th, 2017

Getting out in nature to capture something unique in the moment brings me back to a happier place.

I took this picture at the end of April on the Eastern side of the Sierra’s.  I am calling this one “random acts of nature.”  I wasn’t expecting to see this Texas Sage in Northern Nevada in this area where I walk the dogs.  I have never seen one there in bloom before.  This was not near any path – the dogs and I were bushwacking finding a way up to another path we wanted to get to.   I find the best way to experience random acts of beauty in nature is to be out in nature (pretty simple).  I’m exceptionally grateful I was out in nature that day to see this rare bush for Northern Nevada (it’s native in the Southwestern US and used ornamentally in gardens).

Several months ago when I was in a funk after my father passed away, I was reading about how surgeries were having far fewer mishaps when they followed a basic start up checklist.  I thought, hmm maybe I could be happier if I created a similar checklist for my day rather than wallowing in sadness.  My checklist is pretty basic – get out in nature, notice something unique while I’m out (this brings me into the present moment),  connect with people I know in a meaningful way,  stretch, breathe, take time to meditate,  focus on a task to completion, reflect on what happened in my day that went well.  Living in the present like this has helped pull me out of the loss of a parent funk.  This picture reminds me that how I feel in the moment is a choice and I can change it to something more positive and uplifting by just getting out in nature.

Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – December 17, 2017 – Chicken Pot Pie

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

 

I had such deep containment and satisfaction from these chicken pot pies. I truly appreciate the unique relationships with each of my children and how they continue to spark such happiness in my life.

Earlier this year, I was inspired to make my own Chicken Pot Pie after seeing that my daughter had made one.  She had posted this very appetizing picture on Instagram of her chicken pot pie effort.  This picture to the right of my chicken pot pie reminds me of a saying I heard decades ago by a colleague who had just started studying buddhism – “The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your associations.”  I enjoy every day the quality of the relationships I have with both my children in so many myriad ways.  I think though this “quality” parameter goes into other dimensions as well.

While I don’t recall the details of this recipe, I do recall that I used puff pastry.  I find anything with puff pastry is brought to epic culinary delight.  I got this cookbook when the children were teenagers that showed how to make some favorite commercial products.  I remember when we first got this cookbook, I made these incredible “pop tarts” using puff pastry.  I don’t think the recipe called for puff pastry, but again the puff pastry made our pop tarts out of this world incredible.  So maybe this buddhist saying for me could be “The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your ingredients.”

 

Attitude of Gratitude – December 14, 2017 – For the Love of Pi

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

My sister is a math whiz and a phenomenal math teacher for both the math phobic and the math gifted.   She found her calling early in life – before she even looked like she her self was out of high school.  In her first teaching job, she was routinely asked if she had a hall pass and some of her students were just a couple years her junior.   She’s been at this math teaching gig for 32 years now.  She is now teaching the children of some of her students, and for those that liked to multiply early, maybe even their children.

She loves to celebrate Pi day (3/14) – in some pretty unique ways.   Yes this is her head and it’s remarkable how little gray hair she has from teaching teenagers for the past 3+ decades.  It’s her sense of humor and overall zen approach to life that keeps her happily in that game.  It’s very much fun to hear her stories about her Math counts groups and the other little genius’ who grace her days. I asked her how many student’s she’s had and it’s over 3000.  What an impact she’s made.

I figured on 12/14,  I would celebrate and appreciate her as after all 12/14 has the number 12 and if you add the digits – 1+2=3.  Okay this is a stretch – but she’s worth celebrating nevertheless. Besides being a dedicated professional, she has been a fantastic friend and the best sister I could ever hope for.  I got to enjoy her company several times this year.  Even camped in my “moho” in her driveway for the weekend camping trip in the CT burbs.  She lives in a wonderful park like setting, has the occassional bear visit and has some majestic trees that call her yard home.  It was a very nice place to camp for a couple days.  I wonder if she ever got the electrial fixed from that visit…..