I don’t remember when I first came across Marie Forleo — it’s not the kind of thing I usually did come across. I was a published poet and professor, teaching Literature at MIT with a PhD from Columbia. I came from a world of Ivy Leagues (I got my BA at Harvard) and New York City Intellectuals (my parents both work in New York City publishing). For much of my life, I generally avoided women’s magazines and the self-help section. And I had no interest in business.
But I was changing. Having children, becoming more self-aware, confronting early childhood trauma — all opened me up in unexpected ways. The well-guarded successful artist and intellectual I thought I had been fell away, and I found myself exploring things I hadn’t explored before. In that space, I came across Marie.
It took me a few years to sign up for B-School. I finally signed up because I wanted to get outside of the box of institutional America, and take a year off with my family in Costa Rica. So I invested in B-School; my husband took an unpaid sabbatical from his high school teaching job. Thanks to Marie’s B-School, I was able to further professionalize the tutoring I’d been doing and take on some online tutoring students that helped pay for our time abroad.
I was passionate about writing and about helping people, especially women, come into their voices — but I still couldn’t figure out how to make a life around that. I had kids and didn’t want to go on the tenure-track academic job market, and after having done a lot of personal and spiritual growth, being in a mostly mind-dominated world made my cells contract.
But Marie has been a beacon encouraging me to find my path. She encouraged me to believe that there are ways to earn money doing what I am passionate about, that the very things that make me different may be my greatest strengths, and that in fact, the more passionate I am about what I’m doing, the more I’ll be able to build a business that is successful.
I went through B-School again, trained as a Kundalini yoga teacher, and trusted that I could create the kind of writing courses and coaching that I dreamed of that brought together mind, body and spirit.
In the past year I’ve started a business, Align Your Light, that offers integrative coaching and writing classes, workshops and retreats — both in person and online — that bring together writing, yoga and meditation.
Thanks largely to B-School, one of the courses I’ve created has managed to put all of my passions together. The online course, Align Your Story, uses writing, yoga and meditation to help students connect mind, body and spirit, break through blocks, come into their creative centers, and align their stories. It’s been such a privilege to work with the strong group of women students who have come together through the course, and I’m excited to bring the course to new groups of people, as a way to help women find their authentic voices and be the agents of change they want to be—and we need women to be—in our world today.
In the past two years I’ve also become a founding editor at a magazine that explores the questions I’m passionate about. It’s called Anchor Magazine: where spirituality and social justice meet.
I believe, now, that I can earn money doing what I love. And that marketing and building a business isn’t sleazy or embarrassing, but a way to share my insights, wisdom and gifts, and to help others around me. I now see marketing as an empowering way to share authentic, integrated and sustaining and sustainable tools, and a way to rebuild our economy from the ground up. Indeed, Marie has helped me get over my life-long aversion to what I thought of as “bragging” and self-promotion. She has reminded me of the spunky girl I always was, a girl who wanted to have a voice, who didn’t want to take the back seat, and who wanted successfully to create her own life. And she has taught me that if I want to be that girl and create that life, I have to be willing to put myself out there and be proud of what I do and create what I want to see in the world. Not from ego, but from an integrated self there to help others.
I feel really blessed to be able to bring my life-long love of literature and my academic training to the heart and body-centered healing work I’ve been doing for the past years. Thank you, Marie, for the inspiration and for your words of support. And thank you for the practical tools to start to make dreams a reality.
For me the biggest difference Marie has made in my life is she has helped me trust that only if I follow my particular passion and if I do them my own way — and only if I do them my own way — will I really be successful, within myself and in the larger world.