Female | 35 years old | USA | Last updated 28/2/2010 11:04 uur
Dreams & Oatmeal I had a unusual childhood. I was seven years old before I learned that not all children analyzed their dreams each morning at the breakfast table with mom and dad, diagramming the archetypes on a yellow pad, next to the bowl of oatmeal. When I came home with a typical childhood complaint like “Johnny teased me at recess,” I was usually met with “What do you think is going on at home for Johnny that would cause him to tease other kids?” or “What do you think God thinks about this whole situation?” My parents weren’t psychotherapists, religious fanatics, or even hippies. They were just (perhaps unusual) regular people who believed that understanding oneself and others were essential parts of living a happy life. From an early age, I was encouraged to learn about psychology and spirituality and apply tools from both arenas to my daily life. Our house was full of books on those subjects and I grew up reading them. Information & Inner Life I went on to study English literature at Yale and receive an MBA from Stanford. This makes me a bit of a rare specimen in the personal growth world. I’ve been the mystic in the Ivy League, the poet in the business school classroom. I’ve lived my life with the sometimes fantastic, but often challenging experience of having one foot in each of two very different worlds. One world put spirituality at the center of everything; the other was vehemently secular. One valued intuition and inner wisdom, the other held data and logic as our primary tools for knowing. One put human beings in competitive rankings against each other; the other maintained that each human being had a unique and equally valuable contribution to make. I see my journey as a somewhat extreme example of the challenge we all face: to stay true to our inner selves while being fully in the real world, to fill our minds with learning that can guide us, but not let information eclipse inner wisdom. Being A Bridge On many days I felt the uncomfortable dissonance between these two worlds, but I also began to experiment with how they could support one another. I found that my best intellectual and creative ideas came from a spirit of surrender and an openness to intuition. I found that when I discovered insights about myself, or processed difficult emotions, that cleared the way for new levels external achievement. When I brought the intellectual rigor of my academic environments to my personal growth work, it only enriched my inner life. The worlds we’ve been told are very different are in fact just sitting on two sides of a gulf, with so much potential to enrich each other. I think part of my role is to bridge that gulf. Some Highlights Along the way in following my own path, in letting an inner compass direct my outer steps, I * Was named one of the top 20 high school students in the country by USA Today and was selected by BBC World Radio to be the USA representatative for its “Born A Girl” radio series, which profiled the lives of teenage girls in six countries. * Fell in love with Shakespeare and spent two years writing about Shakespeare’s comedies at Yale. I was blessed to study independently and work for renowned literary scholar Harold Bloom. I received a Bates Fellowship to study Shakespeare in Stratford Upon Avon, England. * Co-created two landmark collections of women’s writings, The Women’s Passover Companion and The Women’s Seder Sourcebook, which were published by Jewish Lights Publishing in 2003. We recruited over 180 contributing authors for the project, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Senator Barbara Boxer, playwright Eve Ensler, The Red Tent author Anita Diamant, and many others. * Did what most people do after publishing anthologies of women’s writings…go to business school. Yes, some people did injure themselves upon hearing the news, backing into glass windows in astonishment or literally falling out of chairs. I attended Stanford Business School to learn how to create and manage organizations with significant, large-scale impact. My studies focused on leadership and entrepreneurship. I was elected co-President of the Women in Management organization at Stanford and created a wide range of programs for women leaders. * Was trained as a coach by the Coaches Training Institute and received leadership training from The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership * Worked in diverse roles in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector and currently serve as Board Chair of Upstart Bay Area. What I’m doing now About a year and a half ago, I began defrosting my writing muscles and getting trained as a coach. My work as a writer, coach, and personal growth teacher is about: * Bringing more compassion into the world, and advancing the truth that compassion is wisdom. * Helping more people on this planet start really being themselves–their gorgeous, brilliant, wildly unique selves. Helping them share their voice boldly and make their unique contribution. * Being me. This is me, and one of the reasons I do it is because self-expression and authenticity give me great joy. * Broadening the spectrum of opportunities for personal growth and making personal growth a normative part of life. People know about therapy, and they know about yoga class. Both are great, and there is so much more. I want to help generate a future in which everyone is using tools for wiser, more conscious, living in an ongoing way – because they can so profoundly enrich the quality of our lives. I do this work through Sophia’s House, which is the name for what I hope will be a multifaceted force for compassion, wisdom, and tools for better living. Sophia’s House is still being born, and you, readers, are going to help shape it with your insights and by spreading the word. Sophia’s House offers one-on-one coaching with individuals, group workshops and programs, online courses and guides, as well as writing and other media that inspire and teach tools for wiser, simpler, more compassionate living. Personal Stuff I feel very close to the people for whom my work resonates, and that makes me want to share with you a bit more about myself personally. I grew up in the San Francisco area and love living here now. I live about three blocks from the water and think that San Francisco is one of the most creative, stimulating wondrous places on the planet. Nothing gets me more buzzing with delight than enjoying a great latte in one of our city’s perfect cafes. I love poetry and modern dance, intelligent writing on spiritually and personal growth. I revere art and artists. My life is filled with an eclectic band of totally fabulous, funny, intelligent friends who I adore so much it makes me well up just thinking about them. I just celebrated my tenth anniversary with my darling husband. He’s taught me a lot about how to love and he also cracks me up on a daily basis. I struggle with telling the truth when its hard; forgetting, over and over again, that exercise feels good; procrastinating on unpleasant life-logistics tasks, and accepting truth that yes, the cell phone really does need to get charged every night. I’m at my happiest, most contented, flow-state self when writing, leading a workshop or public speaking, seeing art that leaves me speechless, and sharing a moment of connection with another human being. I'd love to invite Ode readers to sign up for my free guide to goal setting, here: http://bit.ly/bkw8Wm Or, visit my website at http://sophiashouse.wordpress.com
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