Welcome to Permission To Relax!

There is a very good reason I called my business Permission To Relax – that’s just what I needed when I burned out as a professional photographer after 15 years of working seven days a week.

When I could no longer raise my arms, I knew it was time to slow down and learn to listen to my body.  Although I loved working with people and still enjoy photography, I believe I was being guided to a new way of being.

Now I support and encourage busy professionals and a few retired folks how to make healthy choices and take much better care of themselves, hopefully before they burn out.

But back in my early thirties, I worked in the corporate world. I had a good job at a respectable private university managing a prestigious grant. I did my job really well, but on the inside, the boredom was gnawing away at me.

So I did what a lot of people do when they finally admit to themselves that they don’t want to spend their whole lives on a job that means very little to them personally. I bought a copy of What Color is Your Parachute.

(I still love that book, by the way. And I still highly recommend it to people who are thinking about what they’d really like to do with what the poet Mary Oliver calls “your one wild and precious life.”)

That whole process taught me a few things about myself. First, I’m creative. Second, I wanted to own my own business. Third, I wanted to work with people, not papers and administration. Fourth, it was very, very important that I never stop learning.

Within a few weeks, I had what I playfully call my “light streaming down out of the clouds” moment. Photography! Since I was little, I’d always been an artist. And I’d already taken plenty of photos as an adult. I decided then and there that I would start my own freelance photography business.

I also decided that, after ten years, I needed to get out of my marriage.

The next few years were a blur. I went back to night school for photography, my mom died, I got divorced, I moved and I changed full time day jobs. Whew! It makes me tired right now, just thinking about it.

To top all that off, I started my photography business and met Steve, who’s now my wonderful husband of over thirty five years!

Anyway. I boldly launched my career as a photographer and entrepreneur. And boy, did I ever overdo it. I shot family portraits, weddings, corporate events. I worked seven days a week. And do you think I made a point of scheduling my vacations in advance back then– and not canceling them at the last minute to squeeze in one more gig? I think you can guess the answer…

When the bottom fell out of Steve’s printing business and we lost it all, my photography business became the sole breadwinner for our household.

I kept pace. Thirty weddings a year. Chamber events. No time off to rest. Minimal social life. And since most of my work was on location, it meant I lugged all my camera equipment. From event, to event, to event.

It wasn’t long before my body began to speak up. And tell me things my mind was doing its best to ignore.

The back trouble started. I pushed through.

Then the first rotator cuff shoulder injury. This got my attention, and I slowed down a little bit… enough to avoid surgery. Months of  physical therapy, and I was back in action.

…Until the second shoulder injury. Physical therapy again, and, thankfully, no surgery. But my back kept acting up. My feet hurt. It was one thing after another.

And, now in my forties, I was getting the message. I finally accepted that my body was my teacher, and I was getting some pretty strong lessons.

It was time to let my successful photography business go.

At that point, I was booked a year out. So I slowed down on accepting new business, and grieved the loss of something I had enjoyed so much.

It happened gradually. I started a spiritual practice, and began asking for guidance about what was next for me. My massage therapist suggested a visit to the Expanding Light at Ananda in Nevada City. She thought the gentle yoga would help heal my shoulder injuries.

So I went. With two busted shoulders, and almost no income. But by that time, I had enough experience with listening to my inner wisdom that I knew in my heart that the next step was to show up and do yoga.

And at the retreat center, I was very much in another “asking mode.” I asked my inner guidance – intuition, higher self, divine guidance… whatever you want to call it – what was the purpose of my life?

“To express love and the joy of living!” came the reply.

Okay, how does that show up in the world?

“Teach yoga!”

I asked around and found out that there was an upcoming teacher training course at the retreat center. Both my shoulders were still healing, and I didn’t have the money to pay for it. But I just said: I’m going to do this.

And I learned: this is how we make things happen. We don’t listen to the voices that say “I don’t have the money” or “I don’t have the time.” We just move forward with trust.

The money showed up. The schedule worked out. And I completed the month-long training and started teaching yoga.

As a photographer, I worked with a business coach, who told me she thought I was a coach as well. Again, I’d already learned to pay attention to little messages like this, and to follow them with action. So I trained as a coach with the Coaches Training Institute (now called the Co-Active Training Institute), and began building my coaching practice.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Since 2002, I’ve been blending my training as a certified Ananda Yoga and Meditation teacher with my coaching practice – with great results. I also learned a fascinating technique called “visioning” with Michael David Beckwith, and I teach clients to use it to increase income, make decisions about personal and professional issues, and take inspired action.

My latest adventure in wellness coaching has guided me to become an EFT Master Practitioner/Trainer, adding an amazing healing tool to add to Meditation and Visioning. Nothing has made a bigger difference in my own health and well being and in results for my clients.

Early on in my practice, I discovered that wellness isn’t just about healthy eating and exercise. It also has a lot to do with cultivating a mindset that sets the stage for joy, abundance and success in our lives and businesses.

Since 1999, I’ve offered one-day,  weekend and week-long retreats all over Northern California and Europe . For many years it was my great joy to support the Cancer Wellness program at the Wellness Center at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa as well as teaching yoga and meditation classes.  Now I work privately with individuals and couples to help them find alignment and ease in body, mind and spirit.