I was thrust out of my comfort zone…

Just Not Good EnoughThe “art of the pause” has been on my mind, as I was recently a participant at a Cindy Biggs retreat (SeeBigg.com). The retreat entitled CONFIDENCE, COMMUNICATION AND CREATIVITY Women’s Leadership Retreat was held at Mohican State Park.

I attended this retreat in order to bond with three amazing women. My intention being, to get to know them at a deeper level; to build a stronger relationship than is possible across the board room table or in our local coffee shop. What I walked away with however, was the sense of being more comfortable in my own skin.

What does, “to be more comfortable in my own skin” mean?

The Art of the Pause…
Consider taking a moment to take a few deep breaths. In…and Out…extend the exhale as long as it’s comfortable for you. Ask yourself, what does it mean to be comfortable in my skin? And simply note the physical sensations that arise. You can journal any ah-ha’s or words that arise in your awareness.

The day and a half retreat focused on confidence, communication, and creativity, and it was the creativity piece of this retreat, led by Lauren Rader, which moved the entire learning aspect from a mental dialogue about confidence and communication, to experiential learning.

“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

-Pablo Picasso

The retreat, for me, was timely. If your reading this post, most likely you know about my new business, Mind Body Align, and the vision I have for women in our community.

Starting this business has thrust me out of my comfort zone and into the public eye, triggering all of my “not good enough”, “not smart enough”, and “who are you to…” gremlin thoughts. Starting and building a business with these gremlin thoughts as consultants can be crippling and would, over time, have a devastating effect on me and the business.

So, what do I do about the Gremlins?

Interestingly enough, the focus for much of the creative part of the retreat was confidence. The act of using pastel pencils to draw the sensation of no-confidence and then inversely, the “knowing” sensation that accompanies confidence, shifted something inside me. The image shown above is how I visualize myself in the state of being not good enough.

I teach and practice a form of meditation called Yoga Nidra and Mindfulness. These practices are great for noticing and “being present” to the thoughts, emotions, and sensations as they arise, and for accepting rather than resisting the thoughts and emotions.

Take a moment to bring your attention to your body. What physical sensations do you notice? You can start at your feet by noticing the felt sensation of your feet on the floor. Then move up your body and include your heart and your breath. Are there any thoughts or emotions present? If it feels right, journal what you notice.

You may have heard the quote, “What you resist, persists”; mindfulness practice, and the practice of Yoga Nidra supports attention to, and acknowledgment of, all of the thoughts and emotions that are moving through your awareness.

In some ways, I feel this retreat experience has closed a circle for me. My drawing of the image of the Gremlin, “Just Not Good Enough”, simply poured out of me onto the paper.

When the image was complete, I felt a deep sense of relief; something akin to opening the closet to reveal the “monster.”

Drawing the image; giving the experience shape, form, color, and texture (possibly even a face), on the heels of my practices with Mindfulness and Yoga Nidra; attending to the thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations of an experience, felt like finally slaying the demon. I left that retreat center Friday afternoon after having opened the closet door and illuminating all of its dark recesses.

Take a moment to pull out some markers or colored pencils and draw. Draw anything that you might feel at the moment. There is no judgment here…and no one will see the result, in fact, I challenge you to keep it as your very own secret…like a journal entry.

In conclusion, I want to thank the amazing leaders of the retreat: Cindy Biggs, Lauren Rader, and Ethel de Jesus Tabora.

Thank you for giving me another powerful tool to support my voracious appetite for personal growth and learning. I can honestly say I am a better, more enlightened, person today because of the gift you generously give through your work. Namaste’ my friends, I look forward to working with you again in the future!

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Re-post of a May 13, 2015 blog post at  Life Coach By Design.

What is a mindful inquiry?  

An inquiry is not a question to ponder in the mind, but a curious exploration to notice and sense in the physical and emotional body.

The practice is to move the inquiry question from your thinking mind, where you logically sort through thoughts, experiences, and emotions, into a deeper awareness of the physical and emotional sensations that are occurring in the present moment.

First, bring your attention to your breath – focus on your inhalation and exhalation; “Now I’m breathing in…Now I’m breathing out…”

Ask yourself the question, “What’s happening now?”, and then scan your body and notice.

Stay in a state of curious exploration by gently moving any thoughts that arise back to the inquiry – and deeper into awareness.  Resist the habit to judge what you notice as good or bad, true or false, right or wrong.

Learn to experience yourself and this moment as it is.

What’s happening now?

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A new lease…

Hello Friends,

Many of you are unaware of my career change, so I thought I would send a personal update.  I am a life coach.  I have completed my studies and am now beginning my certification with the International Coach Federation.

The first question I often receive is “What is a life coach”?  I’ll be transparent in saying that I have not developed my 5 minute elevator speech.  But…what I have seen coaching do is:

  • Shine a light on your internal “stuff”…your limiting beliefs.  The beliefs that hold you back and keep you unfulfilled.
  • Give voice to your life purpose and core values.
  • Weave together a feeling of connection, choices, and unlimited possibilities throughout all areas of your life.
  • And…without a doubt, motivate you through joy to do the work to create the life you want!

A life Coach utilizes many different psychologies to help a client reach a state of deep-rooted joy and life fulfillment. They include:

  1. Visualizations and focusing on what you want.
  2. Lively conversation and inquiry into the beliefs that keep you stuck.
  3. Gently removing habitual obstacles.
  4. Creating your possible future from which you develop a plan.

In order to see the beauty of life coaching you must be coached.  The voice of Life coaching must be heard for the value to be understood. One possible first step to a life of fulfillment is to experience a complimentary sample session.  This is a 45 minute sample session in which you can make sense of the possible applications for coaching in your life.  If after experiencing a sample session, you’re interested in pursuing a coaching program, please consider the following offer.    In order to insure that I will coach the hours needed to complete the process for certification, I have created a coaching package.  This package is good through completion of my certification and includes 2 (two) 45 minute coaching sessions per month with a 6 month commitment to the coaching process. The fee will be $ 300.00 for 6 months or $ 50.00 per month.

I hope that if you are ready to move your life experience to the next level, you will consider my offer. I can help you step into the picture that will be…and it is, isn’t it, a bright, melodious, and textured life in which you feel joyous and purposeful.  Personal coaching will help you get a handle on your life and experience your dreams.

Have a great day.


Annamarie Fernyak, CAC, NLPP

Life By Design



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About Annamarie, 2012

What can I say about myself…I am an average woman in my (gulp!) mid forties. In my earlier 40’s I was sleep walking through a life of working 50 + hours a week at a stressful (more importantly, disheartening) job, a scale diving into obesity, and an absolute feeling of powerlessness.  I didn’t experience anything as dramatic as a nervous breakdown; however, I did “wake up”.

My lifelong quest incorporating the spiritual teachings of Christ, Buddha, Dalai Lama, Lao Tzu, Eckhart Tolle, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and many others, along with the support and coaching of my beloved family and many super wise teachers, mentors, and motivators, kept my feet planted during a tumultuous period of transition and personal growth.  I officially retired, lost over 30 lbs, competed in 3 triathlons, raced in one 5K, and have enjoyed learning who I want to be and what I am capable of accomplishing.

The Buddhist proverb; “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” has been a recurring experience throughout my personal journey.  These many blessings in my life have brought me to the possibility of “paying it forward”; to be the teacher that appears when the student is ready.  I find myself pulled to help others through their life’s challenges and transitions.  Currently I am studying Life Coaching with the Coach Training Institute.  I selected CTI for my coaching certification training because they teach a Co-Active® Coaching method that emerges from the core belief that the client already has the answers.  (I don’t believe people are broken and need fixing!  I wasn’t broken… I believe that I am my own best navigator and fully capable of being the captain of my life.) Utilizing CTI’s methods, the coach stimulates conversation that encourages a curiosity and playfulness about life’s challenges; opening the potential of finding a surprising personal truth.  It provides a safe, nonjudgmental space where life’s potential can be explored, and through action and accountability, an evolution of thought and spirit can flow.

All this “stuff”; experiencing life’s challenges, has brought me to the simple truth that life is lived in the present moment and that to love and believe in me in this moment is paramount to walking through this life being an example of love and possibility.   The world changes one person at a time and that change can only happen within me.

I welcome your dialog and look forward to sharing my wanderings.


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The Irony of the word “Try”

I’ve realized the irony of the word “try” and have decided to remove it from my vocabulary.  It has been wiped out, forgotten.  What did you say?  Try?  

Do or do not, there is no try. – Yoda  (I know it is crazy to quote a fictional, little green man, however, no quote states it better.)

To try: “to attempt to do or accomplish.”  To do: “to perform, execute, accomplish.”      To try: “to test the effect or result of.”  To do: “to finish, put forth, exert, be the cause of.”  To try: “endeavor to evaluate by experiment.”  To do: “bring about, effect.” ~Dictionary.com

To attempt to do or accomplish…Wow!

We use the word to hedge our bets and express our intention to accomplish something.  The irony is, with the use of the word “try”, failure is implied.  The goal you attempt is, by definition, not going to be completed unless you “do” it.  I now believe that when I “tried” to do something, I wasn’t committed to “doing” or fully engaged in the task.  I used the word as an escape door; an excuse.  I realize I didn’t take responsibility for possible failure.  Ahhhhhh….there’s that word, RESPONSIBILITY.  Oh…and FAILURE!!! 

When I try…I don’t take responsibility for possible failure!  Hey, I tried!!!!!

I believe my words have power…so going forward, here is my vow:  I will no longer “try” and will commit to “do” whatever I set as my task.   In the event that I fail, while acknowledging that I put forth the effort, I know that I am responsible, for failing to complete the task.  I will also ask the question, “What is the purpose of this experience for me”?  I will not be afraid to challenge myself and learn from my failures.



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A winter solstice labyrinth walk!

My Labyrinth Garden

Hello Friends…

Many people have asked me about my upcoming labyrinth walk.  What is a labyrinth and what is the winter solstice?  I thought that I would offer some insight and a bit of history about both so that anyone interested in joining us will feel confident and peaceful.

Ultimately, the labyrinth is a vehicle for meditation.  It is a circular construction with one path guiding the walker from the entrance to the center …and then back to the entrance.  The way is not concealed.  In the case of my labyrinth, it is an 88’ circular garden with a stone path.  The fact that there is only one path to the center and the path is clear, the mind can relax into accepting a simple journey.  The mind’s only task is to stay on the path.  A labyrinth is different from a maze; a maze being designed to have multiple twists and turns and including false starts and dead ends.  The maze is, of course, a great metaphor for life; however, finding your way through a maze can lead to negative feelings and fear.  In contrast, the labyrinth frees the mind to relax.

The origin of the labyrinth and its many variations are found way back in prehistoric rock art, widely across the globe, and represented in many of the world’s religions.  The earliest examples of the walking labyrinth are found in southern Sweden and date from the Iron Age (c.0 – 500 BCE).  A plethora of labyrinth walks through pavement appear around the Middle of the 13th century.  Many of these walks are constructed in medieval churches and cathedrals.  An amazing labyrinth is found at Chartres Cathedral in France.  (This labyrinth was the inspiration for my labyrinth design, although my labyrinth has been greatly simplified.) More recently in the 16th century “turf labyrinths” became a popular garden feature in Britain and were used socially as a part of springtime celebrations (Easter, Mayday, etc.) symbolizing growth and renewal.

Today, in the 21st century, many Christian church groups continue to walk the labyrinth as a symbolic representation of the journey to the Holy Land.  The most widespread use of the contemporary labyrinth, however, is as a walking meditation.  I walk the labyrinth to reach states from peace to absolute presence, and to express things like gratitude and love.  Every walk is a part of a journey and is uniquely personal to the walker.

So…What is the winter solstice and why do I want to celebrate it?  The word solstice means “sun stands still”, because the sun appears to halt in the sky.  Basically the winter solstice, December 22, 2012, is the shortest day and the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.  In the Southern Hemisphere it is the summer solstice, which is the longest day and shortest night of the year.  (Our summer solstice for 2012 will occur on June 20th…save the date!)

The winter solstice has been celebrated since ancient times and in many cultures and religions.   This celebration of the “rebirth” of sunlight can even be associated with the timing of Christmas and the birth of the son (sun) of God.   This article in National Geographic talks in-depth about Christmas and it’s relationship to the winter solstice.  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/12/1220_021220_solstice.html.

December 22nd is the day that the shift occurs.  For those of us, who know the “winter blues” for what it is…a deprivation of light and vitamin D.  This is a day for celebration; promising the gradual return of the sun! 

I welcome anyone interested in this celebration, or any celebration of rebirth and renewal, to join me…December 22, 2012 at 4:30pm.  Send me a message for more information.

Namaste’  and I’m sending you love and wishes for an amazing holiday season and new year!


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Photo, Jeni Balcom 2011

“The only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking.”

– Robert Schuller
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