Interested in A Year of Living Mindfully, but not sure if it's right for you?
Some answers to frequently asked questions/concerns:
A Year of Living Mindfully is all about slow, sustainable changes over time.
Many women have registered for AYOLM because it lasts a year. They have wanted ongoing support over a length of time rather than a program that is fast and furious.
My business model used to feature 3-5 week programs, but I had this sneaking suspicion that many of my clients needed ongoing support to sustain the momentum created by my shorter series.
From my own experience, a short month-long program is awesome because you get a deep dive into an experience.
Yet a shorter experience doesn't necessarily help you integrate the information and skills into your life.
The key here is INTEGRATION. What is beautiful about having 11 months together is that the information and experiences we share become integrated into who you are and how you live your life. With enough time together, we have time to examine what works, what's easy and fun, and also the obstacles we encounter along the way.
This integration and trouble-shooting doesn't happen quickly.
With a longer experience, there's more time to marinate in the information. You get to "work" and the experience also gets to "work" on you.
By the end of the year, you'll find that your life has changed, and your relationship with yourself and your body have changed.
For one, there are four sessions each month (Monday day and evening, Wednesday day and evening), and so you can switch to another session at any point if a conflict arises.
Second, all of the content from our time together will be stored online so you can access it at any point: the meditation recordings, the recording of the lesson, the recipes we try and the powerpoint.
Obviously, you'll miss out on the beauty of being together and the food, but you won't miss out completely.
The online content will also allow you to review whatever information you want over the course of the year.
I get that, really I do. There are definitely many situations where a client has a specific health concern and wants to get to the bottom of it in a focused way. That client is perfect for 1-on-1 support.
And yet, there are many reasons to participate in a group where each participant is interested in health and growth.
- There is a level of motivation and support that is an immediate result of being part of a group with common goals. I have found that my clients are bolder in making changes and feel more motivated to stick with their goals when they have company.
- Groups are less expensive than 1-on-1 appointments, so you want to save the 1-on-1s for information and support that is completely individualized.
- It is healing to be with other people who are positive, motivated and open to growth.
- Generally, no matter what a person's goals or health issues are, the foundations of health are the same. For example, a person with thyroid concerns, another with weight loss issues and another with cancer ALL have to know about inflammation, detoxification and blood sugar balancing.
- In a group, there is more opportunity for learning, access to pertinent resources, support and motivation. Think of it as a team experience.
- There is an African proverb that perfectly captures the benefits of a group experience:
If you want to go quickly, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
Yeah, well, then you definitely need to join me.
Aren't you sick of the dieting mindset? Restoring balance to your body ain't gonna happen on a diet.
As much as we hate to admit it, health and vibrancy are a journey, not a quick fix.
If you would like to shed some pounds, all of what we'll do together in AYOLM will help. And yet, what AYOLM is all about is building a foundation for health so that you shift into a lifestyle mindset and out of a dieting mindset.
In AYOLM, we'll be exploring the underlying imbalances and habits that cause weight gain and weight loss resistance. And we'll be looking with love and curiosity, not disdain or severity.
AYOLM is about coming into a loving relationship with the healing power of food (as oppposed to its calorie count) and the brilliance of your body. THIS is where the true healing is.
So the short answer is: when we address underlying imbalances, weight loss is sustainable and restorative.
What you will find in AYOLM is a group of positive, open, motivated, kind and somewhat rebellious women.
James Maskell, the founder The Evolution of Medicine and a thought leader in the Functional Medicine world cites science when he claims community is the guru of the future. The alchemy of togetherness empowers, heals, and guides us. The guru is the sum which is greater than the parts.
Although we will gather to learn, the most motivating, fun and healing aspect of AYOLM is the connections we will forge.
There will never be a time when you have to share any personal information to the group. While there is time each month to share our experiences, there may be months where you want to contribute, and other times when you choose not to share. It's pretty organic and safe.
In addition, as your facilitator and instructor, I am careful about establishing conversation norms so our time together is authentic but doesn't devolve into group therapy.
I also pay close attention to group dynamics, and keep conversation moving so the talkers don't overtake the group.
I'm not up for group therapy either, nor am I trained as a therapist.
As women, we've been conditioned to meet each other at a place of commiseration and martyrdom. AYOLM fosters authenticity, but we'll meet at a place of validation and strength.
In the past two years of this program, I've been honored to have participants who are moving through radical losses, life transitions, and chronic health issues. There are also participants who just want to learn and grow.
We are not gathering to fix anyone's problems.
We are gathering to support and educate one another so we are more resilient, stable and empowered in the face of our challenges.
It's therapeutic, but it's not therapy.
In September, we will all be participating in a food-based cleanse and elimination diet.
I'm thrilled about the timing of it because by that time in our year together, we will have significantly shifted our self-care and will have incorporated many new eating practices. In other words, we will have the skills to cleanse without a post-cleanse backlash.
In addition, as we add foods back in, each participant will get support in identifying food sensitivities which can be a significant health risk and cause for persistent symptoms and weight gain.
While I will make suggestions for supportive supplements to help you deepen your cleanse, those will be optional. We'll do it all with healing foods and lifestyle tweaks. This way, you'll get firsthand experience with the power of food to heal your body.
This past year, ages ranged from 20-something year olds to 70-something year olds. It was an amazing and cohesive mix.
A good question. There's no set commitment other than our monthly sessions. Yet with each meeting, we will be working with a different theme, new nutritional information and an invitation to define and take the "next best step."
Over the course of the year, we'll be making changes, but there really is no set amount of time each of us will need to devote.
Mindfulness is the foundation of the foundation we'll be building together.
"Mindfulness" means simply paying attention to the present moment with curiosity rather than judgment. We cannot effectively change a habit without awareness. All year long, we'll be exploring a wide variety of mindfulness practices together. The goal is to infuse your life with awareness, inner calm and kindness.
The process is just as important as the product. The journey as important as the destination. How we get "there" matters.
Yes. You can pay up front, or you can pay in three installments over the next three months if that is easier for you.
I do not want to turn anyone away for financial hardship, so please contact me if you want to explore additional options.
All sales are final. Nicole and I think we’ve done a good job of outlining what the program is about to help you decide whether it’s right for you, but if you have any questions before deciding, just send Laura a message. Together, we can assess whether it makes sense for you to participate.
One thing I'd like you to know:
I'm most proud of the completion rate of participants. In the past two years, there was a 95% and 92% completion rate amongst the women who registered.
The first year of AYOLM in 2016, over half of the 40 participants wanted to keep on going, and so I created a graduate program called Soul Food. It just ended with a 95% completion rate.
Amongst the Soul Sisters, there are some who are returning to Soul Food again in 2018.
All this to say is that once women register, they are motivated to stick with it.