Page 1
















HAS SPRUNG 2016 April ~ 2016


BellaMia is welcoming spring and the rebirth of color that paints our world this time of year, by taking a few minutes to honor the plant world around us. Thank you for the annual gentle reminder that there is bright colorful splendor after enduring the dark cold of winter. Please enjoy strolling through our pages and our little garden along the way


April ~ 2016

The mission is to change the lives of every person open to discovering their souls purpose and living a life they didn't know was possible for them on an individual level.

At BellaMia, we believe every woman is beautiful. Editor-in-Chief: Mia Saenz Assistant Editor-in-Chief: Amanda Rhymers Art Director: Charlotte Hayes Creative Consultant: Dana Canneto Creative Project Manager: Victoria Gonzales Editor : Amanda Rhymers Me Director: Dr. Mary Pritchard Lifestyles Director: Sharon Otness Fashion Editor: Linnea Duvall This publication is published bi-monthly For advertising please contact BellaMia magazine BellaMia is a publication of BellaMia Inc.

April ~ 2016



ear BellaMia Readers,

Spring has Sprung! This issue is called Rebirth. We, as women, discover a specific stage during our lifetimes. During this phase of our lives, we desire to shift, change or grow into a rebirth. This stage marks our advancement among the sisterhood. The sisterhood is all about women supporting each other’s magnificence, even as we continue to nurture our own. This is true glory! In this issue, you will find stories and articles that share and support rebirth. Enjoy them and see how they can benefit and be implemented into your life. Dr. Mary Pritchard is on our cover, looking stunning. She is the Director of our Me Section. The Me section is all about Self Love, Body Love and Sexual Wellness. I chose Mary for the cover of this issue because she has spent a lifetime working with women and studying them in order to support their growth. We thank you for that Mary. Enjoy our Super-Foods column in the Lifestyle section. Every month, Kat Maeda brings you super-foods recipes that support your body and mind. Similarly, the New Paradigm section will support your conscious awareness.The Business Feature focuses on Bonnie Gayle who shares “Know Your Numbers”. Most people know Bonnie as a Body Liberator, what they don’t know is, she has been a brilliant business woman for 30 years. She owns a highly lucrative bookkeeping service in Beverly Hills. Enjoy her interview.


We hope you enjoy this issue of Rebirth and all the glorious goodies inside.


lessings and Love,


April ~ 2016

Mia Saenz, Editor and Chief


This fragrant flower existed in gardens, dating back to 1000 BC, in China. The peony is not only highly respected for its fragrance and beauty, but also for its medicinal properties. Legends have grown around this beautiful flower, including the belief the nymphs hide in their petals, so keep your eyes open when you are around them. April ~ 2016


April 2016 Awakening by Unbecoming


Seeking Purpose


Spring Fling!

-42Stepping Stones to Passion


On the Cover Model: Dr. Mary Pritchard Photographer: Lucinda Rae Kinch


Makeup Artist: Kriz Crane April ~ 2016~ 2015 November

-78Getting Fired Green Smoothie Bowl




I Am Woman Hear Me ROAR!

Q&A with Bonnie Gayle

April ~ 2016


Is it TRUE ?!?!? BELLAmia goes Monthly ~ 12 issues a year!

I know what’s on my wishlist! Click link to subscribe


April ~ 2016

$24 for a full year of BELLAmia fabulousness! Check our website for more details

Would you like to feel

Nourished ? Download your free BodyLovin Goddess Guide to essential oils

April ~ 2016


B Me ella


hat Happens When You Have A Real Awakening

Kimberley Heart



March ~ 2016

started to scream, but made no noise. My head slammed against a wall and it hurt me. Who was hurting me? Strangulating pressure pushed me into a space so dark and small that there was no room to roll over, to move, to breathe. Crushing pain, fear; fear consumed me, fear was me. Helpless, I was helpless and the wall closed in on me and I couldn’t breath. Hurt, hurt, hurt.

Those are the memories of my premature birth. My dad had kicked my mom, with me inside of her, and my life began. I discovered the truth of my birth, which my mother confirmed when I confronted her with my “memories,” well into my twenties. I was grappling with the truth of my dubious welcome into this world during a rebirthing session with one of Sweden’s

foremost rebirthers. Together, we discovered the root of many of my past issues with trust, intimacy, and ability to see the world as a safe place. This new awareness about myself was the beginning of a startling realization that it doesn’t have to take years for in sight to lead to growth and, ultimately, to change. Since that epiphany, I have been blessed with many “rebirths,” which I now call “awakenings,” in my life. I have discovered truths, healed wounds and can see new possibilities unfolding. I have discovered is that the journey never ends, and that I don’t want it to! With each level of awakening, I am able

Awakenings I realized,are as Inot always easy, faced my they fears,take focus, that commitment, we too often and willingness. trivialize love, to return to innocence. The sweetness in me blooms and life makes me smile, as I create a world that is a friendly place. Awakenings are not always easy. They take focus, commitment, and willingness. But, one of the greatest lies of our times is that they must be a struggle, be painful, and take a long time to happen. Not true! Awakenings are only endlessly painful if we believe that the price we have to pay for waking-up are struggle, pain, and sorrow. Our beliefs and expectations about the price life demands and about the sacrifices change demands create our experiences during awakenings. Life offers us opportunities, all the time, for awakenings that can change us forever. My latest occurred just last week. I was in conversation with someone who pushed all my “not good enough” buttons. I was angry because I thought I had grown beyond that. I have in many ways, yet, I was feeling like the “leftovers.” With the help of a dear friend, I clearly and quickly identified the core issues that had been triggered: competition, either-or,

and “not good enough,” were all rearing their ugly heads. Do any of these sound familiar for you? Thirty years of experience has me welcoming and relishing opportunities for awakening, without the pain I used to hold so dear. I clung to pain as my red badge of courage, so that I could feel good about the end results. If I suffered, if I sacrificed in my heroine’s journey, then the end results would be more valuable, more validated, than they would be if there were no suffering. Right? It is an ever-lasting sorrow of mine that you might believe there is a payment due, or a sacrifice to make, in exchange for an awakening that results in growth and change. If you decide you must sacrifice, then sacrifice your martyrdom, blame, shame, guilt, and pain. The truth is that awakenings come from allowing more love and more healing into our lives, not more suffering and sacrifice. I want a life that offers continuous possibilities, which are the rewards of awakenings. I want the gratitude, delightful vulnerability, joy, and adventure that replace struggle, the security that replaces fear, and more and more and more love. As I mentioned, my latest opportunity came in the form of a conversation that made me angry, which really translated into feeling, “not enough.” It was a wake-up call that said: “Grab this moment and make it an awakening.” I took that opportunity. I did the work I know to do. The entire process of recognizing what had truly happened and accepting total responsibility for my feelings took about twenty minutes of being uncomfortable, rather than devastated, fearful, hurt, or struggling. I spent

another hour in healing meditation. When I opened my eyes, the feeling of “not enough” was gone. In its place was a quiet power so beautiful and true that I wept. I started to smile, but I made no noise. My heart was at peace and it brought me joy. I was lifted by the love of so many, seen and unseen. I was cleansed and new. Insight bloomed into growth and growth into profound change. Now, the experience of feeling of “not being enough” seems like it happened centuries ago. In linear time it took about two hours to heal. With practice it can be this way for you, as well. I welcomed the joyous peace, indescribable fulfillment, and quiet power. New life, new levels of love—this is what new awakenings offer to you and me. I wish you love, ~ Kimberley Heart


April ~ 2016


While this flower is often associated with the Dutch, the Tulip was most likely originally cultivated in Persia in the 10th century and not introduced to the western world until the 16th century. The Dutch became so smitten with the Tulip that it created an economic event known as “tulip mania,� which swept through the Netherlands in the early part of the 17th century. April ~ 2016


Edit or-in-Chief


otus Flower


am as the Lotus flower

I came from the depths of the murk Almost lost, for I could not see in the constant confusion

Mia Saenz

But I could feel my heart guiding me


April ~ 2016


s I clung to my greatest strength, which was my relationship to God I grew up right and whole I knew God was my true parent In the darkness I felt his love


he light began to shine and shine it did The stronger I rejoiced in this presence, up out of the murk I came Not long before my fourteenth birthday, my father passed on In that trial, my Lotus petals began to open slowly, one at a time


am strong and beautiful, not because of me, but thee As I have loved in life, I continue to know my gentleness and strength My foundation is strong and I have grown out of the murk into the light


am the Lotus flower, I know my sacredness.

April ~ 2016


Awakening by


Dr. Mary Pritchard


April ~ 2016

“The Goddess doesn’t enter us from outside; she emerges from deep within. She is not held back by what happened in the past. She is conceived in consciousness, born in love, and nurtured by higher thinking. She is integrity and value, created and sustained by the hard work of personal growth and the discipline of a life lived actively in hope.” — Marianne Williamson


n April of 2013, during a guided meditation, I experienced something that would change the course of my life. You see, I had been working for 9 months on a book about the Psychology

of Eating, my research specialty. Yet, I had hit writer’s block. Big time. I hadn’t made any progress on my book in 3 months. At the advice of my friend and mentor, Linda Joy, I contacted her book coach – Lisa Tener. Lisa offered to lead me through a guided meditation to meet my writing muse so that I could ask her why I had writer’s block. Desperate, I jumped at the chance. The problem came when I actually met my writing muse, whom I now refer to as my inner goddess. She told me that I had writer’s block because I was writing the wrong book for the wrong people. She said that I was supposed to be writing a book about awakening your inner goddess which would heal me as I wrote and would help other women to heal as they read the book.

I panicked. I fought her. I tried to ignore her. Who did She think she was, telling me I was writing the wrong book? It was based on my life’s work which, at that point, encompassed more than 15 years of research. How could it be the wrong book? Plus, I knew nothing about the Goddess. Sure, I loved learning about Greek and Roman myths during my five years of taking Latin. Other than that, I didn’t even know what an Inner Goddess was, let alone that I had one. After another week of getting nowhere on my book on the Psychology of Eating, I sat down and did the meditation again. I then went to my computer and starting writing. The words flowed out of me like water. All I had to do was: 1) get out of my own way, and 2) be open to receiving the lessons I needed to learn. Three and a half years later… On the surface, my life doesn’t look all that different than it did when I first met my Inner Goddess in April of 2013. I still am a Professor. I still research body image and eating disorders. I still teach classes on the Psychology of Eating and blog about the topic for Psychology Today. Yet, I am a different woman. I am stronger, more confident, more sure of myself, and more courageous than I ever thought possible. I am authentically me. I no longer hide in shadows for fear of what others might think. I wear my flowing purple-streaked mermaid hair with pride. I belly dance half naked in public because I love it and because it allows me to express both my creativity and my connection to the Divine Feminine. I am no longer afraid. I speak my truth and walk in my power. You see, that day in April of 2013 I made a decision, a decision to stop living a lie, to stop

hiding my truth - the truth of who I was. I decided to activate my Inner Goddess, to reawaken her. And I never looked back. Who is this Inner Goddess? She is you. She is you at the core of who you are. She is all of your potential. She is the woman you were meant to be. She cares little for what other people think. She listens to the music of her soul and she dances to it. She has walked through fire and emerged, if not unscathed, truly victorious. She has cried, had her heart broken, and known the depths of loss and pain. But instead of allowing herself to be overcome by them, she has used these challenges to grow, to strengthen her resolve, to fortify her belief in herself. She is your intuition, your inner knowing, your connection to and embodiment of the Divine Feminine. She is the woman you were before society got ahold of you and turned you into who you are now. She is your beauty. She is your light. She is your truth. You are the Goddess and She is You. “Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s unbecoming everything that isn’t you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” - Unknown Are you ready to unbecome who you are not so you can be who you were meant to be? By Dr. Mary Pritchard 1

April ~ 2016



Rebecka Eggers

The Seal Upon My Heart

April ~ 2016


Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved? Under the apple tree you roused me! And today I have set you like a seal over my heart, Like a seal upon my arm; For love is as strong as death, Its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, Like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; Rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, It would be utterly scorned. (Adapted from the Song of Songs Chapter 8, Verses 5-7)

wore the prostitute’s mask.

My mask was a vile covering because I wore it not for love and passion, but for security. I wore it as the emblem of my fear. This was certainly not the regal veil of the priestess in her temple, channeling love and pleasure in the bed chamber. It was the hard, angular suit coat of a

young mother, an orphan girl, with survival on her mind. I see her there now shoulders hunched, brows furrowed, work piling up under a sign she doesn’t even know is there: Words for sale. It isn’t that I lied or even that lying would have been useful or beneficial. It is that my utterances did not belong to me anymore. I

pledged my fidelity to my clients’ interests; to the interests of those who engaged the firms at which I plied my trade.

I am not ashamed of what I did. But to put it bluntly, I sold my voice, my gift, my precious eloquence secondhand and that choice took its toll.

When truth is treated as some relative, ambiguous thing that must be determined Unlike relative truth, which is so often from among the varying facts and circumplagued by factual vagueness, stances, a skilled advocate real TRUTH (Soul Truth) can construct a picture is not some amorphous that will fit your desired I sold my voice, substance just waiting for us outcome like a soft, to pour it into the container my gift, my cashmere-lined, kid of rough justice. Soul Truth glove. In our legal system, precious eloquence bubbles up inside us like lava competing advocates coming alive in a volcano. secondhand... create competing versions It cannot and will not be of relative truth. Sooner ignored for long. It changes or later someone decides everything. which one to believe. This is often the best we Words are not just symbols grouped on can do in our bid to find and present answers a page, either. to complex questions, especially in the context of even more complex rules. In the telling of stories, we evoke our lives. We pass down wisdom to our children. In In any case, this is how I spent my days: the words we string together, we articulate advocating. who we are and who we will become. We call forth the mystery, the secret reservoir of hidden treasure that lies within each bosom. With our words, we bless and we curse. We speak our TRUTH or we deny it. Words matter! TRUTH matters. At some point, I started to realize this even though I wasn’t fully able to articulate it until now. Fortunately, I didn’t have to understand it completely. Feeling the disconnect was enough! I yearned to free my lips from all but my own sacred utterances. I craved a different kind of life. I prayed for liberation.

April ~ 2016


My salvation ultimately came in the form of a passionate, vivid, irresistible temptation. Under the apple tree, it roused me. There I came face to face with the juicy, ripe, red, forbidden promise of my Destiny. Destiny, that wily temptress, seduced me with the sensual energy of dreams moving through my hands. She promised me that someday I would be the dream catcher. I would become a midwife to other people’s dreams. Destiny urged me to just reach up and pull down the fruit of my passion. God, how I wanted to snatch the fruit from that tree. The vision of my potential future tortured me with bittersweet yearning, day after day after night after night. It was like a thorn planted in the core of my heart doing summersaults in the soft, confining flesh. I could no more reach up and take the fruit than I could fly. My legs were bound, held fast by phantom restraints. At the time, I didn’t even know what they were. I just knew that those ghost chains held tight against my struggle. They burned me. It was not the violent, bottom-brush, cleansing wildfire that makes room for new growth. The burn I felt was the slow burn of coals applied like leeches. They could do nothing but weaken me, sap my spirit, urge me closer to death. Ah death! What a wonderful partner death is. It visited me, one night, on my front stoop. Death told me the TRUTH about my life:


April ~ 2016

If I went on like I was for much longer I would kill myself. I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that death was telling Soul Truth. I set up my altar. I wrote out my own contract (for a change). I reclaimed my words in one simple prayer. I asked to be released from everything that was inconsistent with the realization of my dreams. I asked for the resources to become the woman I had been, for one instant, in my vision. In a split second, those villainous manacles broke loose and there I stood with my beloved fruit in hand. Only it wasn’t an apple at all. Like my yearning, it was a bittersweet fruit and when I tasted it, the flavor unleashed every demon hiding in the gristle and torn flesh of my heart wounds.

On the other side of the orchard was a vast wilderness of shifting shadows. With death as my constant companion, I entered that dark, untamed place and I began walking my destiny path, my Passion Path, one plodding step at a time. People think dreams are just supposed to come true. That is not what dreams are for. Dreams are the emissaries of Divinity. They belong to our wholeness. They will refuse to be fulfilled until we set the Divine as a seal upon our hearts, as a seal upon our arms. For this reason, if I could wave a magic wand and hand you your dreams, I would not. We are called to bear the mark of LOVE on the inside and to reveal it in the visible marks of our characters honed step by step in pursuit of Destiny. Dreams are the blazing fire of Divinity calling us home to ourselves. If we were to give all the material wealth in our storehouses, our dreams, like the Beloved, would only be scorned. Destiny will not settle for less than the full surrender of everything we think we are for everything Divinity knows we can be. In my case, my words are the sacrificial lamb I must lay upon my altar (yet again, almost 5 years later). Today, in imperfect faith, I render my voice and with it my heart. I set the seal. I belong to Divinity and to the Destiny set before me. Destiny is never a forgone conclusion, but an outcome to be woven choice by choice in faith and discipline. And now, who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved? Rebecka Eggers April ~ 2016



Edging My Way to cstasy


Bonnie Gayle

ex hasn’t always been fun for me. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was because I was so uncomfortable in my body that I couldn’t allow myself to relax and receive. That’s right. I couldn’t get out of my head and into my body, which is a recipe for disaster if you want to experience pleasure. Can you relate?


April ~ 2016

I wanted was to push the limits of pleasure while simultaneously feeling embodied, lost in the moment, and fully engaged. Little did I know, that in years to come, I would go through my own sexual revolution and that it would change me forever! A few years ago, I decided to create a personal lubricant called Sex Butter. As part of my research, I attended conferences and retreats. I met sex coaches, people who wrote about sex, and a variety of people who created sex-related products.

One of the week-long retreats, Back to the Body, changed how I felt about and experienced sex. I realized how much pleasure I could feel, what my body was capable of and what I desired. I also understood that the only person holding me back from experiencing pleasure was me. I had always thought that pleasure was something someone else should be giving me, not something I had to participate in. I knew how to bring myself to orgasm, but it wasn’t the mind blowing experience I wanted it to be. It felt good for a moment and was over, far too quickly. If you want to have incredible mind-blowing sex, you have to be an active participant. If you’re waiting around for someone else to figure it out for you, it’s not going to happen.

At the age of 47, I started playing with my sexual energy while self-pleasuring, taunting and teasing my body, breathing into my bodily sensation and stopping just when I was ready to orgasm. I energetically pulled my sexual energy up and through my body. Then I would let it calm down a bit. After doing this several times, I built up to the point that I couldn’t take any more. It was completely new territory for me. I didn’t know that there was a name for what I was doing. It is called “edging.” Edgingis also referred to as orgasm control.Peaking, or surfing, is a sexual technique which may be practiced alone or with a partner. It involves the maintenance of a high level of sexual arousal for an extended period of time, without reaching orgasm.* I was finally able to experience a full body orgasm and all I can say is: “WOW!”

In addition to having an orgasm last for quite some time, my entire body was vibrating. I was filled with pleasure like never before. If I had known that sex could be like this when I was younger, I probably would have had a sex addiction! I now know that my body is capable of experiencing a whole new level of sexual pleasure. The practice of edging has allowed me to know my body much better. If you are ready to take your body to off-the-chart heights of pleasure, start practicing edging. Be sure to schedule time for it on your calendar.Like everything else, if you’re just waiting for it to happen, it won’t. I recommend edging a few times a week, at least. Remember that edging is a way for you to have fun, to play, to explore, and to learn about yourself and your body. Enjoy! ~ Bonnie Gayle

*Wikipedia wiki/Orgasm_control

April ~ 2016




ust as life and death are the natural cycle of the Universe, life and death are the natural cycle of living. In order to transform, we must allow parts of ourselves to die before other parts of ourselves can be reborn. This often happens as we move through life, being and doing what we “should,” rather than being and doing all that represents exactly who we are. We identify ourselves with our jobs, our relationships, our finances, and therefore with our success, in order to be accepted by the world as we know it. There comes a moment when you find yourself questioning everything: “who am I?,” or “why am I here?” It often happens after a tragic event, such as an illness, accident, a breakup or a big financial hit. It doesn’t matter in what form or context the event comes in. All you know is that there is a sudden yearning inside of you to break out of the shell you have been confined in and be who you truly are, rather than who you think you should be according to societal standards. This is it…the moment you say yes to the journey of “rebirth” into your true self. It is the moment you awaken to a deeper life experience, moving toward understanding your true self, your unique purpose, your desires and dreams. It is the moment you say yes to the Universe’s call to release all that no longer serves you so that you


April ~ 2016

can show up in the world as the most authentic version of yourself. It is time to wake up to the truth of who you are! The minute we make the choice to seek out these parts of ourselves, we begin to experience life in a much different way. We begin to notice the world around us more intensely. We begin to be guided “coincidentally” toward things, people and places that draw us closer to knowing who we are by offering experiences along the way. Through these experiences we have the opportunity to see parts of ourselves that need to go, in order for new parts of ourselves to emerge. It may look like a sudden and major transition in your lifea nd may make you feel uncomfortable or confused. Relationships may change, or even die, and you may yearn to live a healthier lifestyle. You may suddenly have interests in new events or in different types of people. You might become more sensitive to food or your environment. All of this is okay. It is a good sign that you are moving in the right direction, despite the confusion, discomfort, depression, or anxiety. These kinds of changes simply mean that things are shifting in a positive way. It is never easy to confront the things that make us feel unsafe or insecure. In order to release them, we must examine them so that we can shift into who we truly are.

I remember my own awakening, in 2010, three months after my father had passed away. I plopped down on the couch and crouched over myself. As the tears fell, it felt as if something had just come over my entire body. I was sad and plagued with an uneasiness I couldn’t explain. I remember that my husband came in and asked me if I was okay. I couldn’t express what I felt in words. I did know that, in that moment, I became aware that I was not living the life I wanted to live. I knew deep down inside that I had a bigger purpose. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that I was not living it. In that moment, I made a decision to seek it. And, I did. My decision was followed by one upheaval after another - from health issues to job losses to financial distress. Yet, each and every experience brought me closer to who I am, what I value in life, and to my purpose. I felt layers and layers of my old self dying away to make room for the new more authentic me to appear. I am not saying each person’s journey is the same or that it takes the same amount of time. I am saying that when you are called to seek that deeper part of yourself, you will notice that each experience you have,no matter how traumatic, is a step you need to take to go through your natural cycle of life and death., Together, those steps will lead to your rebirth and result in a new you. No matter what you might be going through right now on your journey, I invite you to fully and completely love every single part of yourself along the way. ~ By Dana Canneto

April ~ 2016


BEditorial ella

Q&A with

Dr. Mary ritchard


BellaMia: What lead you to

Body Love work?

Mary: That’s a great question.

Like many of the women who write for BellaMia magazine, my mess is my message. Although I have been researching body image and eating disorders for 20 years, it wasn’t until a few years ago that a conversation with a close friend forced me to confront my own issues with food, my body, and myself. You see, while I preached self-love and body love, I had been in denial of my own eating disorder


April ~ 2016

for over two decades. In that moment when I first admitted I had a problem, I knew I had two choices: let it consume me or heal and dedicate my life to helping other women overcome their struggles with food, their weight, their bodies, and themselves. I chose the latter. And what a journey it has been! I healed my own eating disorder and now I help women all over the world heal their Body Shame, self-loathing, and self-criticism so they can truly love and accept themselves and the skin they’re in, perfectly imperfect just as they are.

My students were again my inspiration

BellaMia: How does working as a

Professor at a University support your movement?

Mary: To me, they are integrally con-

nected. I first started exploring factors that influence body image and body shame when a student of mine walked into my office in tears over 20 years ago. A collegiate gymnast and cheerleader, she was solid muscle; yet her coach told her that she needed to lose 15 lbs before their next competition which was a few days away. My response? “From where?” I couldn’t understand how someone could look at this girl and think she was fat. Moreover, I couldn’t understand how she could look at herself in the mirror and see an overweight girl, but that’s exactly what she saw. The more I dove into my research on this topic, the more passionate I became about my cause. Fifteen years later, I developed a course on The Psychology of Eating to educate my students about everything I had learned from my own research on our relationships with food, our bodies, and ourselves. My students were, again, my inspiration . They pushed me to offer the course every year. They thought everyone April ~ 2016


should be required to take the course. Then they challenged me even further to take my message outside the classroom and into the world. I went back to school to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. A year and a half later, I combined my academic knowledge from both my PhD and INHC work with my research and started my own company to help men and women learn to heal their own relationships with food, their bodies, and themselves.

BellaMia: When did you first discover

your body image issue?

Mary: I was fortunate to be blessed with

the ‘skinny gene.’ As a child, I could always eat whatever I wanted and never gain a pound. Until I turned 16. The stress of being a teenager in high school combined with my parents’ impending divorce left me seeking comfort in theform of cookies, cakes, and anything chocolate. The pounds started to pile on. People stopped telling me I should be a model. My clothes didn’t fit anymore. My boyfriend called me “chubby” as a term of affection - except that I didn’t see it that way. At 17, I joined a gym. I then went off to college and lost, instead of gained, the Freshman 15 and Sophomore 10 because I was determined to never be called “chubby” again. There my 24-year battle with my eating disorder began.


April ~ 2016

BellaMia: What brought you to Belly Dancing? Mary: When I was in college, I discovered running. It quickly

became my coping mechanism – my escape from the pressures of being away from home and my parent’s constant arguments (which I would try to mediate over the phone). As I married and encountered different life stressors, I kept on running. The more stressed I became, the more I ran. After 20 years of this, on top of my eating disorder, my body finally had enough. I broke my heel – twice in one year. Needless to say, that ended my running career. But I craved movement, freedom of expression, and longed for a creative outlet. Belly dancing was the answer to a prayer. I felt comfortable as it was low impact and women of all shapes and sizes were welcome. Two years later, I am still dancing. Dance has taken over as my coping mechanism, as it is such a good way to let out my emotions in a constructive, beautiful way! (Plus, it’s much easier on my body!)

BellaMia: How do you like to unwind and what inspires


Mary: You know what inspires me? Music? Yes. ZZ Ward and

Paramore get me singing loudly and off key and dancing. Being outdoors? Absolutely. I love hiking – and occasionally running – with my dogs in the foothills literally outside my door. But what truly inspires me to this day are my students and clients. They push me, make me challenge my limiting beliefs, and help me be a better version of myself. For that, I am eternally grateful.

April ~ 2016



Once known as a whippletree or houndberry tree, the dogwood is native to most temperate and boreal climates of the northern hemisphere. While this tree grows small its wood is very strong and is prized by woodworkers for projects that require great strength. Some believe that the cross of Jesus was made of Dogwood, and that the tree has grown smaller since then to prevent being used for that purpose again. 30 April ~ 2016

April ~ 2016


Kami Lerner BellaMia: When did you first discover art? Kami: I think I’ve always been attracted to artis-

tic things and creative things. I used to color and create collages from pictures in magazines when I was a little girl, but I only painted and drew for my friends or for myself, until I was 23 or 24 years old. That is when it really changed in me and for me. I started to put my pieces up in restaurants and selling them. I was finally able to call myself an “artist”.


April ~ 2016

BellaMia: Share with us the mediums you use.

Kami: I use mostly acrylic on canvas,

but I am all about texture. My pieces all have multiple layers of paint and other things that I find along my journey. I put sand, pebbles and rocks from the beach, as well as song sheets from my favorite musicians underneath the paint. I have ripped pages of poetry from my journals and put them under the paint, so that the paper is visible but the words are not. I use cords and wires and other things that I find, smashed Diet Coke cans, coins from Thailand, little trinkets and things that I find while I am running, in my paintings. I usually put a page from the book I’m currently reading into each of my paintings. I once found a Twenty dollar bill, while running, and put it into a painting. I can’t remember which painting it’s in now. When you buy a piece of my artwork, you are getting a piece of ME in addition to my art.

BellaMia: We see your jewelry

line all over Hollywood. Can you tell us which celebrity was the first to purchase it? Share as much as you can, ethically speaking.

Kami: I think I saw my first pieces

on Carmen Electra. She was wearing them in a Magazine photo. I was just ecstatic!! My sales snowballed from there. Nicole Richie has worn my Full Finger Wire Wrap Rings to the Oscars and I have seen Demi Moore, Vanessa Hudgens, Jennifer Garner and Kate Hudson wearing my jewelry. I could go on and on. Honestly, it is exciting every time that I see someone wearing my creations. It never gets old or goes to my head. It is always AMAZING!

BellaMia: Your art style is unique. What is the specific term for it and what inspired you to create it?inspired you to create this style?

Kami: I don’t know what to call it. It is a

mixture of Street Art, Abstract Art and my SOUL combined. My two biggest influences are Basquiat and Frida Kahlo., I have taken aspects of their styles and created a totally different one. I don’t think has a name. It is simply the result of my painting process. My mood influences every piece that I create.

April ~ 2016


BellaMia: You are a beautiful Spiritual person. What is your spiritual routine like?

Kami: I just try and stay true to who I am. I like to run down by the

beach in the mornings when the world is still quiet to meditate and listen to my music. Running allows me to connect most of the dots in my life. I also write in my journal every dayI t is important to sit down and write without thinking about whether or not it makes sense or worrying about who might see it. When you write for yourself, you can be completely honest because there is no other audience to impress. It often makes it possible to see connections of which you might otherwise be unaware. I also like to dance alone in my apartment at night It frees your mind and soul and is a great workout.


April ~ 2016

April ~ 2016


Q &A

wit h Mompreneur



BellaMia: What is the Water Slyde and what does it do?

Maureen: The Water Slyde is a sleek plastic water diverter that easily attaches to most forward facing bathtub spouts, redirecting the flow of water to “where it counts”. It was designed with two goals in mind; to cleanse and stimulate female parts using flowing water.

BellaMia: How did you come up with the idea of The Water Slyde?

Maureen: The idea hit me when I was 15

years old. I was sitting in the bathtub and reached for the spout to help me sit up. The spout came off the wall and water came bursting out. I quickly jumped back. Imagine my surprise as the water hit me between the legs. I was hooked. I took about four baths a day


April ~ 2016

until it was fixed. Attempting to replicate my previous experiences, I scooted under the spout and used the shower wand. Neither were as comfortable or pleasurable as having the natural flow of water come to me. For the next 16 years I wished for a product that would accomplish what my broken spout did: pleasure; comfort; cleanliness.

BellaMia: How did you make the first Water Slyde?

Maureen: I finally stopped waiting for

someone else to invent it. With help from a friend, I created the first Water Slyde with a 3D printer. I lent it to my friends so that they could try. Each of them wanted one for themselves or simply wouldn’t give it back. We knew we had something special.

BellaMia: What did you do before you created the Water Slyde?

Maureen: I was and still

am an active PTA Mom, Jiu Jitsu addict, and CEO of the Pollack household. One of the reasons I love being a Momprenuer is that I still get to be all these things, while working on something I’m passionate about.

BellaMia: What does it feel like?

Maureen: AMAZING! First, you get to sit in

your bathtub comfortably. No more scooting your butt under the faucet and getting your hair wet. The stimulation engulfs you gradually and, after a few minutes, can really produce an intense orgasm. I love to use it as a way to get clean and revved up for intimacy.

BellaMia: What has been the most

rewarding part of this journey for you?

Maureen: Helping women! You would

be astounded to know how many women haven’t enjoyed the sexual aspect of their lives to the fullest extent. Many are self-conscious about being intimate and fresh. This venture has been very gratifying. It is wonderful to know that I am a part of making people’s lives more pleasurable naturally.

BellaMia: Where can one buy a Water Slyde?


April ~ 2016


BLifestyle ella



eel fabulous with Pilates By Suzanne Taylor

re you over-thinking fitness, living within a zone of excuses as to why you cannot work out? Allow me to help you change your perceptions regarding physical exercise. Firstly sit comfortably with your spine straight taking a few moments to regulate your breath. Now say, out loud, ‘Fitness’ and take note of how your body reacts to the word. Did your body slouch? What vision did you see? If you experience an unhealthy response, I suggest you spend time altering the program created by your subconscious mind. You can easily do this, on your own, by visualising the body transformation that you would love to experience. This will help you stay focused and raise your motivation. This month I interviewed Emma Anderson, an advanced Pilate’s instructor who started her training back in 2009. Emma expressed that the Pilates workout will help you improve your posture, strengthen your core, stretch your body, and realign the skeletal structure. She also explained that, not only will the Pilates workout focus on the physical, it is really effective for stress as the exercises turn our focus to what is going on in the inside, our mind will gradually become quiet.


April ~ 2016

Let’s turn our focus to your posture. Do you sit for long periods throughout the day at a desk, or driving for your job? Are you always on your phone? These are a few examples of how your posture may lead to you to experience back pain in the future. Your frontal muscles can shorten, and when this happens you experience shallow breathing, affecting not only your oxygen supply, but your personal power too. Emma has chosen 3 exercises that will support your posture, and strengthen your upper and lower back muscles. You will need a yoga mat for the following exercises. If you do not own a mat you may use a towel to support your body.

.... not only will the Pilates workout focus on the physical, it is really effective for stress.



Stand with your feet directly underneath your hips and imagine a weight resting on your tailbone as your pelvis is slightly pulling forward. Now imagine a piece of string above your head pulling the spine upwards nice, and straight. Roll your shoulders up towards your ears, and slide them right down the back so that the chest is open Inhale up and exhale down three times, making sure your pelvic floor muscles are contracted. Imagine that you are pulling up a zip, but not too tight as your last two ribs pull downwards. Start to pull the belly button towards the spine and lower your chin towards your chest without touching. Think of the crown leading

the way. Slowly roll your body downwards thinking dinosaur back, pulling the vertebrae out as much as you can. When you are down, you may need to bend your knees slightly, walk your hands along the ground until your hands are directly underneath your shouldersand raise your heels without leaning forward. At this point, remember your core position is very important. Your pelvis should be pulling forward. Now, focus on the breath travelling down your body as you take a long inhale of oxygen and hold the breath for a count of 8. Breath out (Repeat this breathing exercise three times.) Taking your time come directly down to the ground- flat down and face down as we move onto Emma’s next exercise.

April ~ 2016


Grasshopper Place your hands directly underneath the shoulders keeping your core engaged, hover the hands off of the ground, and hold. As you inhale, slowly roll your shoulders up towards your ears and exhale sliding your shoulder blades down the back. Lift your chest up off the ground keeping your eyes focused, and stare at the floor


(Repeat this exercise 8 times.)



Slowly roll onto your back and bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor. You should be looking up towards the ceiling with your hands by your side, shoulders sitting nicely in their sockets. Making sure your core muscles are engaged, tilt your pelvis towards the ceiling as your lower back starts to push against the ground. Exhale, lifting the hips off of the mat and squeezing the glutes. Lift each vertebrae one by one until your body is in a slide position (diagonal). If you experience a crushing sensation in your lower back, you may need to lengthen the spine a little more. (Repeat this exercise 6 times.) After your exercise workout, Emma suggests listening to some tranquil music to aid relaxation as you lie flat on your mat for a few minutes of mindfulness! Suzanne Taylor


April ~ 2016

Mint Green Tea Whipped Body Butter


ngredients: 1/2 cup coconut oil 2 T loose green tea or 2 bags opened 1/2 cup Shea Butter 1 tsp vitamin E oil 4-6 drops peppermint essential oil

• Add coconut oil and green tea to the top of a double boiler. Melt the coconut oil and then keep on very low heat for an hour until tea is infused. • Pour infused oil thru cheesecloth to strain out tea leaves. Return to heat. • Add Shea Butter until melted. • Remove from heat and add vitamin E oil. (You can use from opened capsules.) • Place bowl in the refrigerator until mixture becomes opaque. (At least 40 minutes.)

Makes approximately 8 ounces of body butter. Store in clean, tightly capped container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

• Use a stand or hand mixer to whip. • Add essential oils and continue to whip until fluffy. (If the mixture gets too warm refrigerate and whip again)

~ Sharon Otness April ~ 2016


Spring Fling!


o, not THAT kind of fling. Well, perhaps. We certainly aren’t opposed to you celebrating Spring in that way if there is opportunity and you care to do so. This is a Spring “Fling it out of your closet.” Fling open your closet doors, LET THE SUN SHINE IN and move your winter clothes to the back of your closet. Use cedar and lavender sachets to keep the moths away and let the lighter brighter fashion of Spring both reign supreme and delight you! More about that next month! But first, if you haven’t yet begun paring down your closet and divesting yourself of all those clothes that you just DON’T WEAR any longer, but keep holding onto because: maybe you will wear them again someday;maybe you will fit in them again someday;maybe they will be all the rage again;maybe, maybe, maybe. Well look that maybe straight in the eye, and tell it to get lost!! This is Spring Fling!! Fling it out of your closet.


April ~ 2016

By Linnea M. Duvall Nothing will make you feel fresher and freer than shedding all of the clothes that are just lurking in your closet and haven’t seen the light of day in years! You move them back and forth, and just don’t wear them. Moving them back and forth is an energy drain. It is also a mental drain, seeing them again and again and trying to justify why they are still there. Get rid of them!! Bring on Spring with a Spring cleaning of your closet. I have discovered a fun way to approach it. A dear friend recently told me that she was feeling freer and more alive than she had in a long time. When I asked why, she told me that

“Nothing will make you feel fresher and freer than divesting yourself of all those clothes”

she spent a weekend visiting with her daughter and “Spring Flinging” out her closet. My friend said it was a bonding blast: she and her daughter laughed and laughed and had a great time. And the result? A beautiful, user friendly, and supportive closet. She said it makes her feel more attractive and empowered, on a daily basis. What a great way to greet Spring! We all call it Spring cleaning for a reason! There are some key elements to this Spring Fling. One, truly do choose to do this with a friend, who may just happen to be your adult daughter. I have helped a few well chosen

friends who were desperate to have their closets more streamlined and beautiful, and user- friendly.I will keep saying that!! Because we have often, in the fashion column right here in BellaMia, discussed what a powerful a tool clothes are. In that sense, user- friendly is a very important term and a powerful aspect of your wardrobe. What my friends were

most grateful for, and you will be, too, was a second set of eyes and a very clear voice that said, “No, you do not need that. You need to a. give that away, or b. throw that out.” We did have a blast reminiscing, tossing and spending girlfriend time. The friend who accomplished her powerful and streamlined closet with her daughter also brought a key element they brought to the process. Her daughter, God bless her, suggested adding an instant camera to the process. What fun and what clarity! They used three sets of “eyes”, including one with no opinion. The camera simply documents how you look in an outfit, front, back, and sideways. Perfect! Instant photo cameras are an easy and inexpensive addition to your Spring Fling process and the camera is reusable!. My friend told me that the photos were always the most powerful decision maker. If there was any doubt or hesitancy about whether or not to keep something, they both went to the “photo finish”. The photos made the decision because they gave, no pun intended, such a clear picture of how the each article of clothing looked from the front and back, in addition to how they fit. The photos were an unbiased reflection of whether the clothes were flattering and empowering, or not cutting it anymore. We

don’t often get to have such precise vantage points. So, some laughs, some hugs, some tears shed remembering when something had been worn, and a stack of instant photos later…Voila! Twelve bags were filled with clothing, shoes, and accessories and ready to be delivered to a donation site. My friend was breathing easier and feeling like a million bucks, because the things that she kept in her closet truly make her LOOK like a million bucks She also got the benefit of great mother daughter time out if it. I recommend doing this as soon as you can. It’s Spring.Have a Spring “Fling it out of your closet!” Let the sun shine in! Greet this wonderful season looking and feeling glorious. ~Linnea M. Duvall


April ~ 2016

Green Smoothie Bowl

• ⅓ cucumber • ½ frozen banana • ½ avocado • 1 handful spinach • 1 cup coconut water • 1 scoop plantbased protein • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder

Top with 2 tablespoons hemp seeds and a dash of cinnamon. Or, go wild with berries, nuts, coconut, seeds, chopped apple, etc.

By Sharon Otness April ~ 2016




No matter what you call it, this flower has been a part of human culture as far back as we can determine, evolving over 20 million years ago! It is an early bloomer, often symbolizing spring, good fortune or even death. Certain varieties have both medicinal and toxic properties. Various myths exist about this diverse plant. My favorite is one of a Nymph smitten with a very vain man. In her anger over being shunned, she turned him into a flower that admired itself forever in a pond reflection. April ~ 2016

"Living Life on a Natural High"

Seeking Purpose And Finding Healing By Kellie Valenti


his transforming part of my story begins midlife. It is ,honestly, not where I saw things going, but we don’t always get a say in that. Or do we? If you believe that you get back what you put into the universe, then I got exactly what I had been asking, rather, begging for. Over the last few years of my corporate career, I had become increasingly unhappy. I knew that I needed a change. I had outgrown where I was spending most of my time. I kept pushing myself to level up into someone and something I really had no deep burning desire to be or do. I had become someone I didn’t really even know or like anymore. Do you ever feel like you are living someone else’s life? It’s like living a dream that you are going to wake up from at any moment. I felt as though all the pressures of the world were upon me. Some were self-inflicted and some were because I didn’t yet have the skill set to handle them. Through many deep and pitiful prayer sessions, God answered my pleas for help and change. It happened as I was being slammed into something I hadn’t bargained for and for which I was unprepared. Imagine Alice as she finds herself plummeting into the rabbit hole, ending up in Wonderland not knowing what is reality and what is make believe. Am I a bit mad?


April ~ 2016

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” ~ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

My truth: I didn’t realize that so much of my identity was wrapped up into my “job”. I was unaware of: how much I sacrificed; how I exchanged one blinder for another; and how I made excuse after excuse. I crawled around the “rabbit hole” for about a year, sometimes surfacing for a while and then finding myself in the dark again. I am not sure where I would be today without the many beautiful souls who lent a hand throughout this time, pulling me up and gifting me with their love, support and in some cases, hard truths.

His timing is exquisite and so are the people we are all surrounded by, if we’re open to finding them. I needed to learn to get out of the way and let God do his work. This took believing in myself, as well as the gifts and talents he placed inside me, and being willing to let others in. All of these things are very hard for a very private person to do. In fact it can be immobilizing, if you let it be. F.E.A.R.(False Evidence Appearing Real) is what stops so many from seeking out that which they really want and need.

This journey meant I had to let go of pride and ego and learn to trust, but learning how to do that was baffling. The inner workings of the mind can be very cruel at times. I could be feeling great about myself and my life and, in the blink of an eye, a thought could come from nowhere and put me right back into the hole. Day after day, I put my trust into the wisdom and counsel of those who had gone before me and took advice that I often didn’t know how to follow . By putting one foot in front of the other I kept moving forward. An important part of the transformation journey for me and for many others is having a connection with someone you can confide in, someone you believe will listen and someone you believe will give you the helping hand to pull you out of your rabbit hole. We all need to allow beautiful people into our lives, even if we don’t know it or realize we need them. God just kept sending me one after another – and always at the perfect time.

Part of the healing and transformation process, as it was taught to me is reflection. While it can sometimes painful, especially in the beginning, it is a great tool for gathering self-worth, bolstering confidence and allowing strength to grow over time. Reflection also allows change to occur by learning from what

April ~ 2016


didn’t work well and letting it go and also by strengthening what went brilliantly. The speedbumps of life cause some bumps and bruises along the way, but, we have the ability to strengthen our spirituality, our bodies, our minds and most of all our love of self and mankind.

morphed, the journey has been amazing. Today, digestive (gut) health is my forte. I love that I get to serve so many with the knowledge that I have. We don’t need to suffer needlessly and there is hope and healing given the right tools.

There are some amazing people that I get to call friends who wouldn’t be what they are to me if my life journey had been different or if I had closed myself off completely and not been willing to change. I say this because sometimes we all wish for a different life. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

My experiences have taught me that it takes a community of people to help each of us grow and heal. I’m thrilled to get to be a part of that process and journey. When we set our intentions to attract healing, positive energy and love, we receive it and also send out positive energy, thoughts and love constantly through our mind, body and spirit.

I once thought I wanted to be a “health coach” but it never resonated in my belly. Instinctively, I knew there was another path that would open up when the time was right. Through my own healing process, I uncovered my true purpose… to help other people heal holistically. While my original vision has changed and


April ~ 2016

How can you let people in to help you with your transformation? We’re here to help! Hope and Healing, ~Kellie Valenti

B Man ella


piritually, I think that women are the perfect note to the symphony that is the multiverse. Physically, I think that women gatekeepers to heaven on earth.”


sa Leveaux

Founder of Genius Academy™ Affirmatorium Architect 51 April ~ 2016

Maca The Aphrodisiac Superfood


ooking to increase your libido – or ramp up the lovin’ from your man? If you’ve not heard of maca, you’re going to be dancing on the table when you discover the benefits of this amazing superfood. A radish-like vegetable related to the potato, the Incan superfood called maca comes from the world’s highest mountain plateaus in Peru. It has been a staple in the diet of the people of the Andes for more than 3,000 years BC. A small root, maybe two inches, maca has a flavor almost like butterscotch and packs some significant nutrition: nearly all the amino acids, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fatty acids, and minerals including calcium, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, and iron. In addition to vitamins C and E, it also contains B1, B2, and B12. While the Incas certainly had no understanding of maca as a nutritional supplement that enhances the endocrine system, they


April ~ 2016

valued it for its health giving and medicinal properties and used it as gifts and for trade with Spanish explorers. As an adaptogenic plant, maca helps the body deal with internal and external stresses, supports and revitalizes the adrenals, and helps to regulate and normalize hormonal imbalances in both men and women. Used as a supplement or in powder form, it can be added to smoothies and other recipes. Maca, which was valued as an aphrodisiac by the Incas, increases the libido and sex drive, increases energy, and provides an overall sense of vitality and well-being in both men and women. While some men have found assistancewith sexual and erectile dysfunction and fertility since maca increases testosterone

levels and increases sperm count, women may especially enjoy the benefits of maca during menopause. It can help to minimize a variety of symptoms, such as: »» hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings »» the blues »» insomnia »» low energy levels »» vaginal dryness »» migraines/headaches »» brain fog and memory »» loss of sex drive »» decreased bone density In addition, maca can help athletes to reach a higher level of athletic performance by supporting higher energy levels, increased muscle mass, and aiding the body in recovery from injury. As you can see, maca has some powerful benefits. While some people realize the benefits quickly, others may need to be more patient – but the wait is worth it. So, stock up on maca and include it in your diet regularly. It can be included in literally every smoothie or shake you make, sprinkled into museli, quinoa breakfast bowls, or hot cereal, added to soups, or to snack recipes like the Maca-Lucuma Bars on the next page. Lucuma is another Peruvian superfood we’ve been gifted with.It is a great and low-glycemic sweetener from the lucuma fruit. ~ Kat Maeda, INHC, CMWA

April ~ 2016


Superfood MacaLucuma Energy Bars From Kat’s Kitchen • Serving: 1 2x4” bar or 2 2” squares • 1 cup raw almonds • ½ cup sunflower seeds • ½ cup flax meal • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds • 1 T chia seeds • 1 T hemp seeds • 2 T maca powder • 1 T lucuma powder • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup • 1/4 cup coconut oil • 1/3 cup organic almond butter • 1/2 tsp sea salt • ½ tsp cinnamon • ¼ cup currants (optional)


April ~ 2016

In a food processor (or by chop by hand) pulse the almonds into a course consistency. Add them to a medium-size bowl with the sunflower seeds, maca powder, lucuma powder, flax meal, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cinnamon and sea salt. In a saucepan, combine the maple syrup, almond butter and coconut oil. Heat on low until mixture begins to simmer stirring now and then. Simmer one minute or so, stirring until ingredients are well combined. Add mixture to the bowl with the dried ingredients. Stir with wooden spoon and evenly coat nut mixture. Tear a sheet of foil or parchment paper slightly bigger than an 8x8”; line 8X8 pan with foil or paper. Spread the mixture into pan and pack down tightly. Refrigerate until cold and mixture is set, about 1 hour. Speed up the setting process by freezing 30 minutes. When mixture is completely set and solid, lift foil out of pan; turn over and peel foil away – flip back over and place bottom on cutting board. With a very sharp, long knife, cut into 8 2x4” bars or into 16 2” squares. Store them in a covered container in the fridge or freeze them for longer storage.

These bars are quite filling! After I cut the mixture into bars, I wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. The smaller squares are actually just enough for a snack, with a cup of tea They also make a great treat for entertaining. Enjoy! ~ Kat Maeda, INHC, CMWA

April ~ 2016

Creating an Outdoor Sanctuary

Sharon Otness



March ~ 2016

ow that I am back to my roots, and living in the Pacific Northwest, a glimmer of Spring has me thinking of the outdoors. I have a greenhouse and I am planting and planning for the small garden and deck areas I want to enjoy most. Growing up in the Seattle area, then living in the Bay Area and most recently relocating to the beach in Santa Monica, my aesthetic is pretty simple. I prefer mostly natural settings with punches of color that are laid back and have a bit of Zen. I have had a great deal of fun seeing the slightly more over the top, luxe style of my fellow design associate Ivan E. Gonzales, whose practice is in NewYork. (You can see his work on the web at Www. I thought it would be fun to share this interview with him this month. Depending on your style,it should give you some great inspiration for your outdoor spaces.

Ivan: The joys of gardening and having a sanctuary, are created by our choices of plants and garden accessories. A good way to create a sanctuary is to treat the area as if it were an extension of your home, except that the extension has and open roof and nature is welcome. I like to design my gardens as if they are rooms where one sets a grouping of plants to create the background. Add a water feature to get a Zen feeling in the garden. Plant flowering trees to add a canopy to the garden and attract birds. In addition, place different sized planters

throughout the garden full of a variety of plants. This helps create living floral arrangements throughout the garden. My choice of plants, when creating a background grouping, varies. I always think of a pyramid shape. Place taller plants in the background working forward and outward to the front, where smaller plants will be placed. Plant in groupings of three to create interest and a more natural effect. Some of my favorite plants to use in creating the background groupings are evergreen Conifers, ornamental grasses, Hydrangeas, Asiatic Lilies, Roses, Re-blooming Daylilies, Echinacea, Shasta Daisies, Hostas, and Heucheras. These plants provide with a variety of choices of colors, textures, scents, and sizes. All helping in attracting butterflies and bees, which are in major need of our help. The different varieties of plants make it easy to choose your favorite. I find them easy to take care of without a great deal of maintenance. I find that adding a water feature to the garden helps bring peace and relaxation. I prefer a tiered fountain or a pond with a waterfall. The sound of

water flowing or falling really adds to the garden atmosphere. With a pond, one can add Koi fish which add to the Zen feeling in the garden. Birds will also enjoy coming to your garden for a drink. You, in turn, will enjoy watching them. Doing so will help you relax and be in touch with nature. Including floral trees will help to create a canopy for your garden. A canopy adds shade and beauty to the garden, while providing the birds with food, protection, and a place to rest. In turn, the birds will sing for you as a thank you gift and help you to relax and enjoy nature’s chorus. My favorite floral trees are Magnolias, Cherry Blossoms, Weeping White Cherry, Bradford Flowering Pear, and Myrtle. Add planters of assorted sizes to the garden and fill them with a variety of flowers. Planters and urns add height, color, and additional texture, while, bringing living floral arrangements to the garden spaces. Planters give the opportunity to add interest to entrances and boring spots in the garden. I use them as jewelry for the garden.

March ~ 2016


Now that you have the decided on plantings and water features, what about seating and lounging? Whether your garden is a small intimate space for one or a setting for many, you will want to add some furniture. As you would do with any room, think about how you plan on using the space. Think about your style. As Ivan says, this outdoor room should be an extension of your indoor spaces, so style them accordingly. Are you modern, rustic or traditional? You can start with furnishings as simple as a hammock between two trees, a lounger or chaise, or a simple chair with an ottoman to put your feet up on. If your garden is an entertaining area, think furniture groupings. Consider a dining area under a canopy and a seating area adjacent to it, as well as a secret space for one. Make sure to have plenty of small tables for snacks and drinks. Add outdoor area rugs, iconic statues, lighting, candles and lanterns. Even simple things can be luxurious. Enjoy!! ~Sharon Otness


April ~ 2016

Water Lily/Lotus

There are several species of flowering water plants that have been given the names water lily or lotus, interchangeably, through history. Many of these beautiful plants are edible and highly nutritious. Lotuses and Lilies are an important part of many delicate aquatic ecosystems and their broad leaves providing shade for fish and prevent algae growth. Cultures and religions worldwide attribute a wide variety of meaning to these aquatic flowers including peace, rebirth, and universal human potential, just to name a few. 59 April ~ 2016

BNew ella


Cups of Consciousness By Aleya Dao


The month of April is all about getting grounded, centered, and ready for action. Anchor in your intentions, get ready for change, find traction...and move in the direction you intend.

April is the month when the tides change. The current will now be pushing you forward now, instead of deep inside. Use this energetic shift to move into action with your intentions. This is the time to begin creating the changes in your life that you intend.

Ponder the following…

Take a moment to reflect upon the first three months of 2016.

»» What behaviors do you want to embody?

»» You might have had a desire to rest and do nothing.

»» How do you want to feel internally?

»» It may have been difficult for you to see clearly and discern the direction of your life.

»» Where do you want to be internally and externally two years from now?

»» The energy was all about going deep within. »» If you fought the direction of the flow depression or fatigue may have surfaced, forcing you to go deep inside.


»» How do you want to move forward in your life?

March ~ 2016

Activate Your Base Chakra for Motivation, Manifestation, and Awareness com/s/dskl8jrf2vdloejkqvzf

This month’s meditation will help you go even deeper. Activate and ground your base chakra for right action. This cup will also help you motivate and find a deeper current of creativity, passion, and inspiration. »» Energetically locate your lower energy centers. »» Clear your base chakra with tones. »» Activate the base chakra with tones and the vibration of the essence of you and your body deva. »» Create an energetic grid that holds the pulse, flow, and movement to help you get traction, manifest your intentions, and move into right action. »» Pulse the flow of inspiration, motivation, and flow.

Now think about… »» What internal and external actions do you need to take to actualize these intentions? »» Every time you feel a negative trigger, think about how to embody the solution. Example: If you feel fear of not having enough money, love, or support, invite your energetic self / Higher Self to activate support and love in your divine line. »» As you hold this energy internally know that it will be reflected externally.

May you feel the grounded pulse from Earth supporting you as you move forward. Get ready for change. It is on the horizon. Set your course and get ready to move forward in the direction you are pointed. The winds begin to blow in May. Stay tuned…. For greater support with the energetic weather go to: -Aleya Dao

I Am Woman Hear me ROAR


Lorraine Cohen

‘When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.’

April ~ 2016


~ Audre Lorde

have always been a very powerful woman, although I didn’t know that to be true for a very long time. In an effort to be less intense, I held back for fear of turning people off and because I feared my own power. No more! Women with a strong presence, confidence, point of view, passion, and energy have been called, “bitches, high maintenance, too emotional, controlling, pushy, aggressive” and a variety of other names and phrases by those who felt intimidated and threatened by the power they sensed. Because

of a desire to feel loved, valued, respected and a part of something bigger, we have often sacrificed who we really are to fit in at the expense of ourselves. When is the cost too high? Where, when and for what do you take a stand? I read this online: A woman of substance has the courage to overcome tough times in her life; to live her passions and purpose because she stands up for what she believes in and never gives up on her values and virtues. ~ Anon. Powerful words! For some it takes a health or other life crisis to wake up and say, “Enough is enough, something must change!” Whether it is a nudge, a kick, or a 2x4, when the time to step up, speak up and step out arrives, choices must be made.

Here are some keys to be the powerhouse force that you are Be your own lover. Give yourself permission to deeply nourish yourself! Be willing to dump the excuses, the guilt, and all the reasons you may be holding onto that keep you starving for self-love. What feeds and re-energizes you consistently? Are you giving yourself enough or doling out small portions to get back in the “doing-ness” of life? If you are running on empty, the people and things you care about the most will get what is left of you rather than what is best of you. My daily mantra is, “I AM worthy because I AM.” This is a powerful statement to live from. Try it out! Be true to who you are. One of the most painful things you can do is to sacrifice yourself to make others happy out of guilt, obligation, fear, or shame. Don’t make deals for your heart by abandoning yourself to buy another’s love and approval. Love is a gift given not something you have to earn or handle like a negotiation. When you do more of what makes your heart sing, your eyes sparkle, and your spirit soar, life becomes a joy. And your joy will touch all of those in your world! Remember that you teach people how to treat you by the ways you treat yourself! What messages are you communicating? Be a Light not a shadow. Do you feel your life has a greater purpose and that you are here to make a difference in the world? The Dalai Lama was quoted as saying, “The world will be saved by the Western woman.” I believe that refers to the attitudes, qualities, values, strengths… that can be reflected in women worldwide. Each day you make choices to answer the call of your spirit. Are you listening?

Love is a gift given not something you have to earn or handle like a negotiation. Be fierce in speaking your truth even if your voice shakes. My strongest and safest relationships are with friends who live authentically, call me on my BS with love and compassion, and challenge me to be my best badass self. Sometimes being forthright seems risky but, in the end, swallowing your words can be a tough diet to continually sustain without negatively affecting your mind, body, and spirit. There are times to be a louder voice and moments to be a whisper. Choose wisely. Be a leader who not only brings your whole self to the table, also be a catalyst lighting a match under others to do the same. Your willingness to be vulnerable, messy, authentic, strong, and brilliant invites others to come out of hiding. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your life, not what’s best for everybody else. Your decision may give someone else the courage to do what’s best for them. Realize that standing in your own magnificence takes nothing away from anyone else. Our brilliance is not a limited resource to be divided up, rather it is an infinite energy that continues to multiply. Lorraine Cohen

April ~ 2016



Tina Ketchie Stearns

My Perfect Last Day On The Planet

March ~ 2016


ow would you describe your you know the very next day, perfect last day on the planet? It can be April 16, is National Healthcare Decisions Day? I wish there anything you want - total pie-in-thewas a ticker tape parade to sky thinking. Here’s my perfect last draw attention to day. The dog is on the this special day of bed, Louis Armstrong the year. Instead, is singing “It’s A I am thrilled that Remember Wonderful World” BellaMia Magazine in the background, the 3D’s is helping to raise someone is baking a Decide, awareness about it. cobbler and I can smell Discuss & it. I have a list of people If you are a baby I want to be sure are Document. boomer, as I am, there I have another list you are part of the of a few people I want Senior Tsunami. to be sure are NOT That is not a bad there (just sayin’), and I want someone thing. In fact, it is a great thing holding my hand. That’s my perfect last as we are changing the way we day. age in America. My generation We have all heard the saying, “There are only two certainties in life - death and taxes.” Tax day is April 15. Did

changed the way we birth babies by allowing Dad to be

present and right next to Mom. We are also changing the way we age and eventually cross over the rainbow. We want to be active and have fun. Should we need to go to a long term care facility at some point, it better have some great amenities, opportunities to socialize and a talented Activities Director. We are also part of a growing movement to make sure that our loved ones and healthcare providers know our wishes when it comes to our healthcare. April 16, National Healthcare Decisions Day, is about making your healthcare and end of life wishes known to those you love, both verbally and in written form. None of us like to think about death and dying. However , you give a precious gift to your family when you make and share those decisions. It spares your loved ones from experiencing the guilt and anxiety of trying to guess what you would want.

Start the conversation by describing your perfect last day, and my bet is you will surprise and enlighten your family by sharing things they never knew were important to you. It is also a fun way to get this conversation going. After you’ve described your perfect last day, discuss a few healthcare scenarios, such as if the Mack truck were to hit unexpectedly, or if you were diagnosed suddenly with a serious illness. Remember the 3D’s – Decide, Discuss and Document. First, take time to DECIDE what you would want your healthcare provider to do, or not do, under various circumstances. What does it mean to you to live well? What tradeoffs are you willing to make? What type of curative treatment would you want, and for how long? What does it mean to you to have a good quality of life? After you decide what you would want - how, when, where and for how long, DISCUSS your decisions with your loved ones, healthcare providers, spiritual

March ~ 2016

leaders, and anyone who should know should the day come that you are not able speak for yourself. The last step is DOCUMENT. You need to complete advance care planning documents including a Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will. You can find these documents at GotPlans?® and print them right from the website: When you have completed these documents, make sure to discuss what is in them with your family. It is much more difficult for them to carry out your wishes, if they are not fully informed. Here is the key to all of this – DO IT NOW! Do not wait until there is a health scare or crisis. Anyone 18 years of age or older should have these documents in place. That’s why it’s called Advance Care Planning – you do it IN ADVANCE of a serious illness. Too many people are fighting over the bed trying to decide what to do with Mama, when all of that stress and anxiety could have been avoided if Mama had used the 3D’s – Decided what she wanted, Discussed what she wanted with her family, and Documented her wishes long before the crisis. It truly is a gift to your family – the gift of peace of mind that comes from knowing you made the decisions and they are simply carrying them out for you. Celebrate National Healthcare Decisions Day with me, on April 16th by giving your family the gift of peace of mind. Your Voice – Your Choice! ~Tina Ketchie Stearns

66 April ~ 2016


The amazing scent of lilac is unmistakable. Purple lilacs symbolize love or protection, while white stand for purity and youth. A Greek myth states that the lilac bush originated from the Nymph Syringa (the botanical name for Lilac) Pan fell madly in love with her. Fleeing his affections, she cleverly disguised herself as shrubbery. Her beauty clearly shows through her disguise. April ~ 2016


Stepping Stones to Your Passion


Carolyn Gervais

Where those stepping stones take us is much like the yellow brick road in the movie: The Wizard of Oz. The difference is: our stepping stones of desire don’t necessarily have certain colors, nor do they fit together in such a way that they obviously form a path to a specific and definite destination. We create our own colorful and non-colorful paths in life from the inside out, with our personal desires, hopes, dreams, beliefs, and ability to choose one path over another.

April ~ 2016


e humans, by nature are always looking for ways to bring to life, desires, and passions that will help us to become more excited about our lives. There are two ways to do this: one is with desires and the other is with passion. Is there a difference between desires and passion? Most would likely say no, but I would have to say yes there is a difference. Desires provide the stepping stones that have the potential to lead us into our passion. Therefore, desires are stepping stones that come and go in our lives.

Too many, in today’s world, think that having a passion means to do something overtly artistic, like singing, dancing, modeling, creating a piece of art, writing a book or doing some kind of spiritual work. These are all wonderful modalities and ways to express one’s uniqueness and passion in the world. There are endless other ways, as well, that bring healing, learning and much needed vision to share, help and change the status quo of our world. Often the people who are capable of having and sharing a unique vision, are too busy trying to live up to what the world media, parents, friends and people in general are advising, portraying and demanding to do anything other than what is expected of them. Every point of

“D esir es teach us the dif f er ence between

our desi r es and latest passion. �

view comes from how people perceive themselves, first and foremost, and then determines how they view and relate to others. We all have to weed through our personal desires by living through the ones that have the most potential of making life happy and enjoyable for us later. It often takes years to find out which desires to give up on and which to pursue, but know that no life experience is wasted in any of our lives. They teach us the difference between our desires and our latest passions. If we are not sure what our life fulfilling passion is, it is necessary to continue searching by using the desires, or stepping stones, that we have right now in our lives, and which are influenced by our age and life experiences. With each desire stepping stone we choose to discard or use, we grow and expand in ways that prepare, open and lead us into the kind of work or modality that will fill and touch our hearts in ways that nothing else has up to this point. This is ultimate passion being birthed.

The soul has many backup plans that are form-fitted to the potential of each phase of our lives, regardless of where we are on body and mind levels. All that is required is an open heart filled with the desire to give and an open mind to express all that we still have the desire and passion to express, in any way that we are able and willing to do so. As our heart’s passion lights other hearts, their passion lights ours. Carolyn Gervais

We can begin reinventing or creating a new life for ourselves by using the abilities and talents we have: by expanding and using them in a new way. For instance: If you love to organize files, closets, houses or offices, it could be fun and profitable to start a business using your passion for organizing. There comes a point in our lives, somewhere between forty and eighty, when our younger desires begin to transform into needs of the hearts and souls. This is not something easily understood unless experienced first-hand. Passion is something only our heart and soul can feel and create, regardless of who we are, where we are in life, and what we have done. April ~ 2016


Blossom into a good listener By Jennifer Jimbere


ften we listen to someone without really hearing him or her. In the process, we miss opportunities to connect with that person, and even risk making him or her feel neglected, disrespected, and resentful. Do you agree that it is getting harder to focus? Are you looking to improve your listening to ensure that your relationships are blooming? Are you waiting for your turn to speak when you listen?


April ~ 2016

There are 3 levels of listening that I teach in one of my workshops: »» »» »»

Listening Active Listening Contextual Listening

Let’s work on an exercise that will help you express active interest in what the other person has to say and make him or her feel heard, in other words, way to foster empathy and connection. This technique is especially well-suited for difficult conversations such as arguments with spouses and can also be used for to express support. Positive Psychology research suggests that using this technique can help others feel more understood and improve relationship satisfaction. Are you ready to try something to help you become a good listener?

Time Required:

10 minutes/day for at least one week.

How to Do It: »» Find a quiet place where you can talk with a conversation partner without interruption or distraction. Invite him or her to share what’s on their mind. »» As he or she does so, try to follow the steps below. »» You don’t need to cover every step, but the more you do cover, the more effective this practice is likely to be.

Paraphrase~ Once the other person has

finished expressing a thought, paraphrase what he or she said to make sure you understand and to show that you are paying attention. Helpful ways to paraphrase include “What I hear you saying is…” “It sounds like…” and “If I understand you right….”

Ask questions~ When appropriate, ask

questions to encourage the other person to elaborate on his or her thoughts and feelings. Avoid jumping to conclusions about what the other person means. Instead, ask questions to clarify his or her meaning, such as, “When you say_____, do you mean_____”?

Express empathy~ If the other person voices negative feelings, strive to validate these feelings rather than questioning or defending against them. For example, if the speaker expresses frustration, try to consider why he or she feels that way, regardless of whether you think that feeling is justified or whether you would feel that way yourself were you in the same position. You might respond, “I can

sense that you’re feeling frustrated,” and even “I can understand how that situation could cause frustration.”

Use engaged body language~

Show that you are engaged and interested by making eye contact, nodding, facing the other person, and maintaining an open and relaxed body posture. Avoid attending to distractions in your environment or checking your phone. Be mindful of your facial expressions: Avoid expressions that might communicate disapproval or disgust.

Avoid judgment~

Your goal is to understand the other person’s perspective and accept it for what it is, even if you disagree with it. Try not to interrupt with counter-arguments or mentally prepare a rebuttal while the other person is speaking.

Avoid giving advice.~ Problem-

solving is likely to be more effective after both conversation partners understand one another’s perspective and feel heard. Moving too quickly into advice giving can be counterproductive.

Take turns~ After the other person

has had a chance to speak and you have engaged in the active listening steps above, ask if it’s okay for you to share your perspective. When sharing your perspective, express yourself as clearly as possible using “I” statements. For example, “I feel overwhelmed when you don’t help out around the house”. It may also be helpful, when relevant, to express empathy for the other person’s perspective. For example, “I know you’ve been very busy lately and don’t mean to leave me hanging”. April ~ 2016


Why Does this works? Active listening helps listeners better understand others’ perspectives and helps speakers feel more understood and less threatened. This technique can prevent miscommunication and spare hurt feelings on both sides. By improving communication and preventing arguments from escalating, active listening can make relationships more enduring and satisfying. Practicing active listening with someone close to you can also help you listen better when interacting with other people in your life, including children, co-workers, or roommates. Jennifer Jimbere


April ~ 2016

April ~ 2016


Healing the Mother

By Shannon Van Den Berg


I sat nervously at the doctor’s office, wondering if I really should have brought my husband with me like they asked me to. I closed my eyes, took a breath and went over the last month of tests, fatigue, extreme weight loss, sickness and worry. Hopefully, Today was the day that I would get some answers. Waiting. Worrying. I am SO not good at waiting. The doctor walked in, with a grim look, and placed her hand on mine. All my strength seemed to leave my body. I crumbled into a little girl. I felt small and alone. I was not sure I could handle what was about to come out of her mouth. And then the doctor smiled and said two words that made my heart skip a beat: “You’re pregnant”. My mind raced and I retreated into my own world for a few moments. “Pregnant? Pregnant! Oh, my Goddess. I have three teenage boys. I am THIRTY EIGHT YEARS OLD! It’s been fourteen years since I’ve had a baby. We need another bedroom. I am an amazing mom. How could I have not known?” I quickly thanked the doctor and fled from her office, like my life depended on it.


April ~ 2016

The reality of my surprise pregnancy was hard to swallow at first. Hard, because I‘d ignored the signs my body gave me and had been that something was wrong with me. I’d been driven to be all the things I needed to be to everyone I know. I’d neglected myself, and worse, the baby growing inside me. I could have been taking better care of her for all of this time. As I sought to find why I hadn’t listened to my body or to my instincts, I came to place that felt comforting and familiar. It was the heart of my mother wound. I’d long thought that I was over it and I was, to a large degree. Still, it lingered and crept up on me just as I started the next phase of my own mothering journey. I gently explored my mother wound, prodding and opening it with the

utmost care to see what remained. Everything became clear. The mother wound never goes away. Love moves you beyond it. I believe that, like me, most women today have a mother wound. It is the source of most of our limiting subconscious beliefs. It is also the missing that keeps us from becoming the powerful women we are meant to be and from having all that we desire. The mother wound is the root of all of it: lack; weight issues; inability to connect in our relationships with ourselves, with others, with our spirits and with our planet; repression of our divine feminine; and not being able to manifest our desires. As we heal our mother wound, we become able to a healed life in our relationships with our own children and partners. We also open the way for others to heal and, in doing so, heal our planet. How do we heal the mother wound? We start by recognizing the places where we feel stuck. Those places are where we should first attempt to grow our awareness of the mother wound. We should then begin to ask ourselves what we need, listening and acting on what comes up in every moment. We should Move ourselves to the top of our priority lists and let everything else fall into place.

We should learn to be aware of our wounded emotions and the things that trigger them. Lastly, we should begin to honor our mother wounds and let them be the source of our strength and connection. Learn to be aware of your wounded emotions and what triggers them. Lastly, begin to honor your mother wound and let it be the source of your strength and connection. For each of us, healing the mother wound happens little by little. You’ll start to see things in your life shift. When you feel your mother wound begin to lessen its strangle hold on you, remember the powerful woman you truly are and step into becoming more and more of who you are. For me and for my growing family, that means I smile to myself every time I think about the new life I am able to grow, birth and raise into a beautiful, healed adult. I listen to every changing need and support my every desire through the hourly changes of being pregnant. The more you focus on healing your mother wound, the more engaged, abundant and empowered you will feel. And as you move along your journey, the beauty of your mother wound will become the strength to fully live out your dreams. ~Shannon Van Den Berg April ~ 2016


Q &A

wit h

Photograph by: Starla Fortunato

Bonnie Gayle Without knowing the numbers, it’s impossible to efficiently and effectively run your business. BellaMia: You love numbers and have owned a bookkeeping businesses for 25 years. Tell us how your love of math & numbers began.

Bonnie: When I was a young, I was

always good at math. I wanted to be a checker at a market when I grew up, so that I could punch the buttons on the register, because it looked like so much fun! As for my accounting business, I fell into it while I was a personal assistant. I helped a client with Quickbooks, accounting software and soon met a


April ~ 2016

CPA with clients who needed a bookkeeper. It was then that I realized I didn’t really know what I was doing and got some training. I became a full charge bookkeeper in one month. I studied at night and worked during the day. Before I knew it, I had a business.

BellaMia: Most people know you as the

founder of Sex Butter. Will you share why you teach a business program called, “Know Your Numbers?”

Bonnie: I found Sex Butter out of personal

need, during menopause, because sex wasn’t fun anymore. Having spoken with many entrepreneurs over the past several years, I realized that most of them are winging it when it comes to the financial part of their businesses. Knowing how detrimental that can be, I found my niche, and knew that I could really make a difference in how they ran their businesses. I thought it would be a great service to provide entrepreneurs with the financial intelligence they needed thrive rather than struggling to pay the bills.

BellaMia: What does it mean to know the numbers in your business?

Bonnie: Knowing your numbers in business

is really understanding your business finances. To run a successful business, you need to know where your money is coming from. You also need to know and how much you are spending and what you’re spending it on.

BellaMia: Why is it important to know the numbers in your business?

Bonnie: WWithout

knowing the numbers, it’s impossible to efficiently and effectively run your business. You end up overspending and losing money that you

could have either saved or spent more effectively. Also, if you are not spending on things that are working, knowing the numbers gives the ability to make the necessary changes because you know how and where you are going wrong.

BellaMia: What is the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make?

Bonnie: The biggest mistake more entrepre-

neurs in business make is not wanting to deal with or understand the financial part of their business, because it’s not “fun” for them. They give the job to an office or data entry clerk and then suffer later. When they realize that spending is out of control and that their credit or savings are used up, they either have to make a change or shut down. At that point, a sense of failure sets in and the business becomes doomed to fail.

BellaMia: What are two of the main reasons businesses fail?

Bonnie: Two of the five biggest reasons

entrepreneurs run their business into bankruptcy are directly tied to not knowing the numbers. Without understanding the business finances, spending gets out of control and debt becomes overwhelming. Without knowing the numbers, the business owners aren’t able to make informed financial decisions for their businesses. April ~ 2016


Getting Fired Was One of the Best Things That Ever Happened to Me! How


By Connie Costa

that would lift my spirits. Among other t felt as though my world had come things, I took acting classes. There is no apart when I was let go, for the first time such thing as a coincidence. My acting in my life, from a job that I was very comteacher, Kia, was a healer. One day, Kia fortable doing. Although I knew that it had had a moving sale and invited all of her nothing to do with my performance and that students to see the items she it was because of financial was selling. Until that day, I issues with the company, it hadn’t been very interested still hurt. My coworkers had fact the in reading.. Yet, something been my family and world drew me to look at her books. for more than five years. company was I immediately noticed a book Crying, I called a healer I in a huge called, Why Your Life Sucks, loved and respected and by Alan Cohen. The title made told her what had happened. financial me giggle. I picked it up and Her response shocked me. started to read the back of the mess “Congratulations!” she said, book. Kia walked by and said, “now you get to do what you “That’s a really great book!” were really meant to do!” That was all the confirmation I needed. I Her words gave me an enormous sense bought the book. of relief. Nevertheless, I still felt lost and At the time, I was not aware that confused. I decided to pursue activities the entire course of my life would be


April ~ 2016

profoundly changed by what I learned from that book. From the very first page, I was hooked. I could not put the book down. That had never happened to me before. Usually, I got bored and put books down without finishing them.

I hadn’t been aware that I idolized people. Looking back, I realize I did so quite often. If I thought someone was more evolved, smarter, or more accomplished, I would put them on a pedestal and worship them.

Alan Cohen spoke to me in a completely There are two important reasons why this is a bad idea. First, when we put people new and exciting way. As soon as I finon a pedestal, we expect them to be perfect. ished the book, it became crystal clear to The moment we see their human-ness, we me that I wanted to teach the principles I are terribly disappointed and want to punish had just learned. I also wanted to become them. I am guilty of that. The an author, life coach and second that Alan or anyone inspirational speaker, else I thought was somehow just like Alan Cohen. I “better than me” showed any immediately created my “Do not put “imperfection,” I was the first coaching program. It is one to cast a stone. called “Get the Life You anyone on a Deserve!” The rest is Second, he truth is that if pedestal, not history. you spot it, you’ve got it. It even me.” does not help our self-esteem A few years after I read and self-worth to think that that transformational other people are better than book, Alan Cohen began we are. We should not be to teaching a Life Coaching Course. It was a no-brainer for me. If I wanted to learn how try to be like someone else. We should aim to become a life coach, I wanted Alan to be to be the best versions of ourselves. We should constantly be learning and growing. my teacher. I will never forget the first day We are all unique. No one, in the entire I met him. We were in Ojai at a gorgeous Universe, is exactly like us. It does not serve B&B called The Pepper Tree Retreat. As he us well to make ourselves small. We are not walked through the door and introduced himself, I was very nervous. I told him that small. We are all powerful and extraordinary beings. it was an honor to meet him and he could see that I was very excited to meet him. The title of one of Alan’s books is I Had it All the Time. In it, he discusses this very Right there, Alan told me something subject and explains how we have all “had that has been extremely valuable to me it all the time.” Everything we are seeking over the years. He said:” Do not put is already within us. We should not seek anyone on a pedestal, not even me.” He perfection, for we are already perfect. We told me he was human, like everyone else, and that we were on the same level. April ~ 2016


need to focus on living authentically. As Alan says: “To live authentically in a world steeped in illusion is the gift of a lifetime, spreading light in ripples from your own life to the lives of everyone you touch.” I now realize that Alan knew what he was talking about when we first met. He has written 24 books and I have read every single one. Thanks to him, I have become an avid reader. I have realized that I just wasn’t reading the right material, not that I didn’t like to read. Since reading my first Alan Cohen book, I have decided to take his advice. I always follow my heart, and use Joy As My Compass (another one of his book titles). I have become a transformational life coach, an inspirational speaker and a published writer. I lead trips to Italy and Ojai. I produce my own events and fundraisers. I never would have imagined that my career would be so fulfilling. I could write a book about everything Alan Cohen has taught me. For now, I will leave you with this powerful This is quote from Alan: “Wouldn’t it be powerful if you fell in love with precisely how yourself so deeply that you would do just about anything if you knew much life it would make you happy? This is loves you precisely how much life loves you and wants you to nurture yourself. The more deeply you love yourself, the more the Universe will affirm your worth. You will enjoy a lifelong love affair that brings you rich fulfillment, from the inside out.” Are you ready to fall in-love with yourself?

Connie Costa


April ~ 2016

6 Keys to “YOGIFY”

Your Business for Growth

A Andrea Allen

pplying the principles of yoga can help you better run and grow your business. Below are six keys to “yogifying” your business today.

Key #1 Strengthen Your Core The core is the center and the point from which all things expand. A strong core is essential to supporting any structure. When you build a business with defined and strong core values, you create a business with power, strength, synchronicity and potential for growth.

Ritz-Carlton is an amazing example of a company with strong core values. Everyone in the company, from housekeeping to the executive team, knows each core value. Every day, a core value is highlighted to reinforce daily actions to align with it. Creating core values for your business helps to define the essence of the vision you are trying to bring into being. If you already have a set of core values, review them and make sure they are still strongly representative of your business. If you don’t have a list of core values, create them, share them and live them. April ~ 2016


Key #2

Create Harmony To create true harmony within your business it is essential to ensure that there is a balance of the yin/yang or of feminine and masculine energy. Too much or too little of one or the other will cause discord and disrupt connection and growth. Consider the need for balance between confidence and humility. If you aren’t confident in the products or services you provide then people will not want them, whether you are cutting hair, investing money or providing medical treatment. However, humility is just as important to your business. It allows connections to form, trust to develop and learning to take place. Think of three words that you believe are crucial to the success of your business and then think of their opposites. Some examples to get you started include: Organized/ Chaotic, Knowledgeable/ Teachable. Strict/Compassionate. Outgoing/ Introspective. Which ones are easier for you to call to mind and which ones do you need to work on?


April ~ 2016

The practice of yoga is to bring awareness Key #3 Learn to Let Go Top executives and successful entrepreneurs have stated that letting go was the key to growth in many areas of their businesses. Below are three examples of ways that you can let go to grow. The key to building and expanding your team is to let go of control. When you need to delegate duties it can be hard to trust someone else to take responsibility, but it is essential. The key to powerful sales conversations is letting go of your attachment to their outcomes. If you are too dependent upon whether or not someone is going to engage your services it comes across and pushes potential cients/customers away. The key to stepping into your power is to let go of perfectionism. When you realize that you don’t have to be perfect, your confidence grows.

Key #4

Come into Awareness

The purpose of yoga is to become aware of all parts of the body, from the way you hold tightness in your shoulders, to the power in your legs or the lack of strength in your biceps. It also helps us to become aware of the things that our minds focus on. Awareness is a process of discovery and it is often the first step of growth. As you pay more attention to what is really going on in your business by asking the right questions and fostering clear communication, you will be able to focus on the areas that are most in need of attention.

Key #5

Show up to Practice

In the yoga world, you don’t “do” yoga, you “practice” yoga. The first steps in practicing are showing up, getting on the mat and doing the work. Trying it out, working on it, figuring it out, learning and growing are all a part of the process. We’ve all heard the saying “Practice makes perfect.” So practice being successful by showing up and doing whatever it takes.

Key #6

Come into Awareness The body affects the mind’s ability to think and create. Taking care of your body by drinking water, exercising often, and eating healthy foods increases your ability to make good decisions for your business. Will Ferrell once said: “Whenever I run, I get these great ideas. I love what running does for your mind.” There is a reason why some of the most successful people in the world eat right and either run or have a strict exercise routine. It is because those things allow their minds to find clarity. Write down three things you would like to change in order become healthier. Making those changes will give you clarity and help you to be a better problem solver. - Andrea Allen

Make a list of the three most important things you can do today to move you closer to achieving your goals.

April ~ 2016





April ~ 2016

Photography by: Brynne Zaniboni, / 424.298.7419


pril brings with it a season of change. Spring blossoms and nature around us are transforming. A season of change is also coming for Lauren Harding and Mallory Trunnell of the singing duo, Crimson Calamity. Los Angeles has been their home for the past 10 years. Now they’re moving across the country to Nashville, a city more attuned to their musical goals. When discussing this big shift in their lives, one is struck by their passion for their craft, by their solidarity in their pairing and in their journeys together, and by the natural fear and excitement that comes with making such a big shift. Mallory and Lauren met while attending school at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy of Hollywood, During their time there they studied music theatre and other vocal stylings. Mallory and Lauren have been singing together ever since, developing many projects over their 10 years together. None of them were as special as Crimson Calamity. For years, Mallory and Lauren toyed with the idea of creating a duo. As soon as they started creating music together, a style emerged that is lighting up stages all over the US. With lyrics like Just one smile and you’ll fall under her spell, Don’t know what she does but Lord she does it well, you can’t help but feel that these girls are sharing pieces of your story without having met you. Since putting out their EP, All in the

Cards, Mallory and Lauren have been on the fast track to building their full album. Now, with a move on the horizon, there’s a lot more on the table. Nashville brings a lot of exciting prospects to their growth as Crimson Calamity, but for Mallory and Lauren as individuals, moving is a big shift. Put this sentence with the following paragraph.“When you have been working at something for a while and you notice that you’ve come to a plateau, you want to start looking for ways to keep the progression moving forward,” says Lauren. “Every time we visited Nashville, I would always feel like (Nashville) was the place for us to be.I felt it in my gut. We have friends, family, and roots in Los Angeles. We didn’t just want to move for the sake for moving. But the resources and family that have started to grow in Nashville allow us to focus on music in a way that we simply can’t in Los Angeles.”

“It really came down to our gut feelings,” adds Mallory. “Trusting our instincts and having the courage to move forward together as Crimson Calamity gives us many more opportunities to focus on writing music, producing songs and touring with our music to curated venues.” “When we moved to LA, we were younger and only had ourselves to consider. Now we have other people to take into account. We have each other to consider, and our significant others. It is a whole different ball game this time. The conversation is ongoing, and sure stress comes up, but our solidarity as a unit is strong and we know this is the truest path for us.” Along the way, Crimson Calamity will join Lyndzie Taylor for an intimate house concert tour ranging from Los Angeles to Nashville, and beginning on June 6th, 2016. They’ll be lighting up living rooms with their high spirited, attitude

fueled songs in the homes of friends and friends of friends. Upon arrival in Nashville, Lauren and Mallory will be heading straight into the studio to begin recording their next album. To find out more about these ladies and their upcoming journey, please go to or find them on social media @crimsoncmusic. To invite Crimson Calamity into your living room during their tour, please find them at CrimsonCalamity.


~VictoriaGonzalez PhoenixAscendingwithVictoriaGonzalez April ~ 2016

Poppy Poppies have a long history of being a symbol of sleep, peace, and death. The trench warfare of WWI, in the poppy fields of Flanders, has marked this flower as a symbol of remembrance for soldiers fallen in battle. Opium is also derived from poppies. “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz�, uses the flower prominently, possibly to symbolize the opium trade, as the characters follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. April ~ 2016



21 March – 20 April Tensions start to ease off as you find the will to find the way. You are entering an episode where the work gets done around your sacred space; clearing out the old and being at the ready to bring in the new. It is important to fuel your body with love, not just food, at this time. Doing so will enhance your luck and manifestations as you align with your heart.


April ~ 2016

Learning something new or signing up to a course this month is highly recommended as you are ready to accept and work on a new project that will bring about spectacular results. Do not leave it too long when it comes to decision making. Act on your heightened intuition. Remember you can call upon our teacher Angels for love and support at any time you feel doubt may overtake your thoughts.


24 July – 23 August

24 August – 23 Sept

Walking amongst the streams and trees will give you the calm and energy that you need for healing this month. Use this time to reflect on all that you have learned and be willing to surrender your fears to our Angels, who are always by your side. April will be a powerful month for connecting with your spiritual self, as you feel and become more aware of who you truly are and what your heart is craving concerning love for the future!!

As I step into your vibration, Virgo, I feel as though everything is moving very slowly and I am never going to reach the finish line. It is important to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and to become more aware of the emotional responses you are projecting into your projects. You may be blocking and stalling your tasks on a subconscious level. Breathing techniques will help you release any stressors that are affecting your patience.




21st April – 21 May


23 Nov – 21 Dec

22 Dec – 20 Jan

As I step into your vibration, I want to draw the curtains and hibernate for a while. You are being guided to fight these feelings of alienation and spend time with those who truly love you. As you approach mid- month, financial constraints will start to ease. Be open to receive guidance and ideas that will help you resolve any issues you may have at this time. Worry only attracts more of negative energy. Stay active!!

Feel alive Capricorn. This month may pass by you really quickly! You are very organized at the moment and may feel the need to read through any documentation you hold regarding your finances. Perhaps it is time to upgrade your home or car. Working within a financially intelligent vibration, you will be more than willing to assist others with their need to change their circumstances. This is the month for getting the jobs you have put off done. Sign on the dotted line!!



22 June – 23 July

Keep yourself flexible this month. You will be entering another magical phase that will turn straw into gold. The more you practice gratitude, the better life will flow for you Gemini. As I step into your vibration, I can feel you entering a group that supports your desire and that will support your authentic self. Mentally, you are on top of everything. Remember to stay organized with your busy diary!

There is a very active and spontaneous month ahead, Cancer, so remember this and get plenty restful sleep. You are going to need it. As your energy is on fire, now is the time to open up your career chart and decide what is working in your favour and what is not. Fitness and meditation will help you see more clearly, as there are many unconsidered options that to be uncovered at this time!!



24 Sept – 23 Oct

24 Oct – 22 Nov

Abandonment speaks strongly to me as I step into your vibration.We all fall and struggle at certain times within our lives, and this normally happens just as we are about to shift into a new vibration of love. Be strong Libra. Our healing Angels are supporting you at this time of need. You are about to experience an energetic breakthrough that will change your circumstances for the better!!

Spread your wings, Scorpio, and explore the hidden depths of your soul’s mission as you feel and find the missing pieces of your personal jigsaw puzzle. Love has no boundaries. We sabotage our freedom to love ourselves and others fully. April will be a month for releasing old haunts. As our high masters enter your vibration, you may feel a little delicate. Intimacy is stronger and much deeper during this period. Allow your thoughts to flow freely!!



21 Jan – 19 Feb

20 Feb – 20 March

Your inner child shines through this month, as you go on an adventure with the younger part of your soul. You are in need of sensory stimulation that will allow you to be young and vibrant within your work and social circles. Being the life and soul of the party, you will move into a popular phase with friends, and friends of friends during April. Expect to laugh a lot but be careful not to over spend!!

I am seeing a bucket list and I feel that April will be a month for reflecting on adventures that have truly touched your heart. Age is only a number. No matter what age you are, be ready to make more memories using the energy available to you this month. An old flame will make an appearance toward the end of the month. Allow the past to be set free. As repressed emotions evaporate, you are being advised to start anew a this month.

April ~ 2016

By Suzanne Taylor ~ Angel Channel ~

22 May – 21 June


B Spotlight ella



imberley Heart

f you can track her down you will find her running for a plane, fixing someone’s ‘problem’, walking with a client in silence so they can hear themselves think, or sitting on her dock.

Kimberley Heart is a consigliere to top leaders and a chief strategist to businesses.


My role is all about trust and truth. It all about love and more and more healing. If the people in power feel loved, happy and fulfilled many people’s live will change…maybe even the world April ~ 2016

Bella People

April ~ 2016


Bellamia Magazine: Issue 9, April 2016  

BellaMia magazine is a Woman's Empowerment magazine that support women in all area's of their life. We specialize in Self Love, Body Love, S...

Bellamia Magazine: Issue 9, April 2016  

BellaMia magazine is a Woman's Empowerment magazine that support women in all area's of their life. We specialize in Self Love, Body Love, S...