Dreaming With Others

The second retreat of the Cheryl’s Dreaming Big Leadership Program took place this past Thursday through Sunday in Michigan. The retreat focused on developing the skills of connection, communication and collaboration to facilitate dreaming with others.To prep for the retreat, we had a staff day on the ropes course the day before the participants arrived. That’s my co-leader and dear friend, Brighid, and me almost 30 feet in the air! This element is all about leaning into your partner in order to get across the wires. Brighid, Allen, Wallace and I had a great time swinging in the trees and learning about our group dynamics along the way!

The participants arrived on Thursday evening and we had a jam packed weekend of practicing new concepts and tools through experiential exercises and dialogue. To help the participants build trust and to get the learning “in their bones,” they also did a ropes course together including using teamwork to climb over a wall and doing partner activities in the trees.

Rain drizzled down on us through the treetop canopy, soaking our clothes but not our spirits. The group really rallied together to balance both the tasks at hand and the relationships despite slippery surfaces and tenuous interactions. By the end of the day, we all were exhausted and exhilarated. I was so inspired by the courage, collaboration and inner strength I witnessed in the participants as they faced their fears and overcame challenges.

By the end of the retreat, the group was really embodying all the concepts we covered ranging from checking out assumptions to having really difficult conversations in the service of deepening relationships. From now until August, the group will be doing partner projects to put their learnings into practice. I can’t wait to see what they each create from their collaboration!

[tags]leadership, Cheryl’s Dreaming Big, mental health, ropes courses, team building, life coaching, co-leading[/tags]

Manifesting Your Dreams, It’s Yoga Style

Today I led a dream box workshop for this month’s It’s Yoga Teacher Training students. There were almost 20 participants from all over the world – London, Taiwan, Japan and throughout the U.S. – all with a passion for practicing and teaching yoga. We did a visualization of their inner teacher and their big dream to get them grounded in what they want to bring into their lives. Next we busted out the craft supplies and started to collage unique and precious dream boxes.

At one point there was such a feeling of flow in the room – with the rustling of paper, the clicking of scissors – the creative process became a group moving meditation. Very cool! The students appreciated having a fun, tangible way to bring all of their new learnings and insights together with their dreams of what’s next. I was so grateful for the opportunity to share this experience with them. It was definitely one of my dreams come true!

[tags]yoga, Ashtanga yoga, yoga teacher training, It’s Yoga, dream box, workshop, creativity, life coaching, law of attraction, art visioning[/tags]

Unfolding Your Life Vision

Yesterday was the “Unfolding Your Life Vision” workshop in Pleasant Hill. We had a small group which made for a nice, intimate setting to share, relate and create together. It’s always amazing to me to know how we women have many dreams and challenges in common and that we can provide each other with support to move into action!

I loved witnessing each book blossom into vibrant symbols of each woman’s life, values and vision!

[tags]life coaching, creativity, workshop, accordion book, life vision, art visioning[/tags]

It’s Yoga Part 2

Graduation day was last Friday – I am now a certified Ashtanga yoga instructor! The training was an amazing journey. Intense, exhausting, exhilarating, integrating, inspiring and feeling like coming home. I had no idea going into it how much it would align with the work I do as a coach, leader and artist. So many of the concepts and the ancient yogic philosophy resonates with much of CTI‘s coaching and leadership approach. The ideas of detaching from your inner critic, getting in touch with your inner teacher, letting go of expectations, practicing compassion, etc. are so universal. It’s another language/access point/modality for me to explore the same ideas with myself and with clients. I love that I now have a deeper appreciation for and understanding of the mind, body, heart, soul connection and how yoga helps integrate all of them.The other amazing aspect of the training was the incredible synchronicity that emerged. The third week we talked about manifesting our dreams and how yoga helps to quiet the mind so we can tap into our higher selves and access our dreams. So much of this related to what I use my wish boxes for. I ended up getting the chance to share my wish box with the circle and took them through a guided visualization. They liked it so much that they invited me to do this with future teacher trainings! I couldn’t believe it! As Larry says, “It’s Yoga!”

[tags]yoga, Ashtanga yoga, yoga teacher training, It’s Yoga, coaching, creativity, wish box, art visioning[/tags]

Dream Box Fundraiser

This weekend was the first weekend of the Cheryl’s Dreaming Big – Dreaming Big Party Fundraising weekends. I hosted a Dream Party where we visualized our heart’s desires and decoupaged collaged Dream Boxes to hold our hopes and dreams. Not only did the women have fun by sharing together and supporting each other, they also made a difference in the lives of others by donating more than $250 to support Cheryl’s Dreaming Big community outreach, leadership and mentoring programs for adults with mental illness and the general community at large.Since the leadership retreats are held in the Chicago/Michigan area, it was exciting for me to bring the inspirational gift of CDB to my local community and friends. One of the participants, Antoinette, even blogged about her experience.

[tags]life coaching, creativity, Cheryl’s Dreaming Big, non-profit, fundraising, mental health, dream box, visualization, art visioning[/tags]

Dreaming Big

This past weekend was the first retreat of the year for the 2007 Cheryl’s Dreaming Big leadership program. Our plans were to head off to the retreat center in Michigan so we could do ropes courses on Saturday. We ended up staying in Chicago and holding the event at Brighid’s due to the severe weather in Michigan – 20 degrees F and below 0 windchill factor! We got creative and transformed her place into a “retreat center” complete with a Quiet Room, Library and a Cozy Corner.

The group is absolutely fantastic. They have already totally bonded as a community and are calling each other forth powerfully. Each of them had huge transformations in just the few days we were together. They even called Brighid and me forward by challenging us. It’s definitely busting my assumptions of what these retreats are “supposed” to look like and opening up new perspectives, which is great for me. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the year goes in the program.

[tags]leadership, Cheryl’s Dreaming Big, mental health, co-leadership, personal growth[/tags]

Lotus Blossom

Yesterday I led my first painting and collage art visioning class with five wonderful women. I met Cynthia at a holiday fair last month (she designs beautiful bead-embellished utensils and serving ware) and she asked if I would come to her house and hold a workshop for her and her friends. At first I thought, “Why is she asking me? I have no formal art training and would hardly consider myself an ‘art teacher.'” (Us coaches call that “gremlin talk!”) Her enthusiasm was contagious and I found myself saying, “Yes!”

This is yet another example of where I’m so glad I said “Yes!” to a new opportunity even though I had know idea what to expect. The afternoon turned out to be full of fun, exploration, creativity and of course much laughter. We each created unique pieces that said something meaningful about ourselves.

I painted an image of a lotus blossom, which represents spiritual unfolding and enlightenment. The lotus flower starts of as a small bud at the bottom of a murky pond and then, drawn by the sunlight, slowly rises to the surface to unfurl its beautiful petals. I loved that symbol of ascending from the darkness and muck to opening and blooming in full elegant expression. Just like what happened when I moved from the initial doubt and fear about the workshop to stepping into the gifts that I bring. And now I want to hold more painting workshops to provide the time and space for women to tap into their creative essence.

The lotus flower symbol resonated so much with me that I now refer to my Unfolding Your Life Vision collage books as Lotus Blossom Books instead of plain old accordion books. The pages open up like petals on the lotus flower, bringing purpose, clarity and affirmation to your life vision.

[tags]painting, art, creativity, workshop, lotus blossom, visualization, life coaching, art visioning[/tags]

Map of the Human Heart

The year 2007 holds tremendous potential and I need a map to guide me on the adventure ahead. During a recent session with my coach, she had me visualize the landscape of my future vision. Where does creativity, fulfillment and, yes, even fear reside? What are the colors and sensations of this place? Where am I in this picture?

Using my notes and memories of this vivid place, I picked up my art supplies this morning and started mapping out my path on a large sheet of paper. I laid down colors and lines. The forest of fear was easy for me to depict (I know it well!). Yet, to my surprise the rest of the landscape came with ease as well. Words sprouted up in the different areas — “growth,” and “fertile ground,” in the spring grass, “flow” and “connection” in the river and of course “playful” and “friendship” in the pink flowers.

When I finished, I realized that this isn’t a map of foreign, unchartered territory. It is a map of my current journey and I’m on the right path of following my heart!

Go ahead and pack your bags — visitors are welcome! Where will your map take you? What features are in your landscape? What’s it like on your journey?


[tags]creativity, life coaching, art, future vision, painting, art visioning[/tags]

My Future Vision

A few months ago I leapt from Corporate America into the world of entrepreneurship to pursue my passions around creativity and coaching. I’ve been enjoying the journey so far. And yes, I’ve had my moments of “oh my God, what am I doing?!” Yet, I trust I am following the right path.

Back in June and July I participated in a business incubator course through Ladies Who Launch in San Francisco. One assignment was to dream up a future press release about my business (see below). I had fun imagining grandiose things for myself and it was a great exercise to help crystallize what I want. If after reading it you have ideas for me on how to make these dreams come true, I’d love to hear from you!

I even shared my press release with some friends and one of them took the idea and ran with it. He wrote up his own press release and then sent it off to everyone he knows! To read Mark’s future vision press release, visit his blog Tip of the Sword. I hope you’ll be inspired to dream up your own press release and share it with the world, too!

Jenn’s Future Vision Press Release: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (5 years from now!)

Creativity Coach and Self-Help Sensation, Jennifer Lee, honored as “Innovative Coach of the Year” by the International Coach Federation

San Francisco, CA —September 1, 2011 — Today, the International Coach Federation (ICF) honored artist and life coach Jennifer Lee with their first ever “Innovative Coach of the Year” award for her cutting edge inception of “art visioningâ„¢.” This non-traditional approach blends the self-development, self-expression and self-awareness elements of art and life coaching to help people discover and live their life vision.

“Jennifer has an amazing gift for bringing beauty into the world and she shows us that feminine leadership — nurturing, intuitive and loving — is powerful,” said Dr. Barbara Mark, ICF President. “Whether through art, emotional expression or coaching, Jennifer’s sensitivity inspires us to reflect and discover our own vision via a creative, personal approach. She has made the benefits of coaching available to the masses in a way that’s tangible, accessible and, of course, elegant.”

“I am extremely excited and honored to be the first recipient of the ICF’s ‘Innovative Coach of the Year’ award! I love that art visioning gives people space to breathe, center and tap into their greatest potential. I’m encouraged to see that people are drawn to this new way of looking at their lives more fully and I’m curious about what else unfolds,” said Jennifer of her prestigious award.

As a pioneer in the field of art visioning, Jennifer has successfully blended collage, visualization, storytelling, visual arts and book arts with the collaborative, inquiry-based and goal-oriented approach of life coaching. She started off with separate businesses, running a life coaching practice and selling handmade books and wish boxes. But she soon discovered that there were synergies between the two. Setting off to better integrate her own life vision, Jennifer began experimenting with weaving artistic elements into her coaching and using powerful questions and self-discovery in her commissioned art projects.

Now, she is the creator of several licensed workshop programs and kits. Examples include “Unfolding Your Life Visionâ„¢” which results in a unique accordion book to serve as a visual reminder for your values and goals and “We are the Heroines of our own Storiesâ„¢” which uses collage, book arts and personal life history to honor who you’ve been and who you’re becoming in the next chapter of your life. Drawing on her previous corporate background she is currently developing programs to bring more soul and creativity into the workplace.

Her exquisite and coveted handmade wish boxes have been featured in Oprah’s Favorite Things and on Martha Stewart’s daily TV show and magazine. They are popular gift items at online shops ranging from high-end retailers such as gumps.com and redenvelope.com to specialty stores like coachingtoys.com and femailcreations.com.

Jennifer is also the best-selling author of, “Unfolding Your Life Visionâ„¢,” a groundbreaking and inspiring book that defies conventional format, helping people to look at their lives differently. A feast for the eyes and the soul, this original piece features her paintings, collages and boxes and even showcases her clients’ revealing art and success stories. The book also includes informative steps and tips on how to unfold your own life vision.

Known for being creative, insightful and calming, Jennifer is a sought after coach, consultant, workshop facilitator, speaker, artist and yoga instructor. She is also a leader for The Coaches Training Institute. She loves working with professional women seeking more balance and fulfillment who crave a fresh approach to changing their lives and living their dreams.

For information on her products and services visit: https://www.unfoldingyourlifevision.com
Contact: info@unfoldingyourlifevision.com
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[tags]Ladies Who Launch, women entrepreneurs, future vision, coaching, creativity, yoga, author, art visioning[/tags]