Seeing with “Fresh Eyes”

By | Reflections From My Quest | No Comments

Thinking about how helpful it is to slow down enough to really take in the spirit of our children! Great reminder today.

I had a note from a mom of another child at Jake’s preschool today that stopped me in my tracks, and reminded me of this video I shared earlier this week from a few years ago, where Jake’s spirit and love of life are in full display.

She said “Your son cracks me up at music… he entertains me! He just makes great faces and is always participating. One day I was frustrated and tired because my little guy won’t sleep at night and watching him reminded me why we do this tough work!”

I’ll be honest…Jake can sometimes be a lot of personality to handle. And manages to get exposed to unpleasant health issues that require vigilance and dedication to conquer. And it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

But, if I really look at him with fresh eyes and “see” him and what an incredible spirit he is…his joyfulness, love of life, the total power and confidence in himself he holds, and his ability to roll with whatever comes at him, I’m reminded too why it is such an honor to be his mom.

As my podcast opening says, he does “challenge me to grow into my best self” daily but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What might you need to slow down and notice about your child today? What can you see with “fresh eyes” that makes it all worth it?

Sharing in case one of you needs this message today.

Beyond MLK Day and the Women’s March: Continuing our Activism

By | Reflections From My Quest | No Comments

In the last few weeks, between MLK Day and the Women’s March, we’ve had a number of opportunities to focus our attention and raise our voices for equality and an inclusive democracy.

In my family, we’ve been exploring what role we can play to create a democracy of our highest ideals even in the face of so many challenges to it.

We’ve volunteered on MLK’s Day of Service and marched together at the Women’s March. We’ve been reading about powerful women who have shaped America, understanding the #metoo movement and discussing the powerful surge of women running for election.

But, I know for me, it can be all too easy, once the holiday passes and march signs are put away to go back to life as usual.

This letter to you is a way of recommitting myself, and inviting you to join in, to the causes that demand our attention and to continuing to engage with our children about these issues.

One way that I’ve committed this year to activism is to have powerful conversations about Anti-Racism and the Movement for Black Lives on my podcast. And I invited others, through creating The Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative, to  have similar conversations and share them with their communities.

I also launched a fundraising campaign to support Mothers Against Police Brutality, whose co-founder Sara Mokuria came on the Mother’s Quest Podcast to share her powerful story of loss and how her grief has fueled groundbreaking work for reform. We’ve raised over $2500 dollars for their organization, but have another $1,000 plus to go before reaching our symbolic goal of $4,100.

As I recommit to this work, I want to invite you to listen to the conversations I and other women podcasters have recorded on the subject of Anti-Racism, one cause that demands our attention. And to consider supporting Mothers Against Police Brutality, leading the way to solutions, with a monetary contribution.

Beyond that, I encourage you to recommit to your own activism, wherever you are on the “activism spectrum.” I’d love to hear what calls to you and what you’re planning already, or would like to plan, to support the causes you believe in. Please hit reply, share and let me know if there is any way I can support you.

Much appreciation,

Julie

The first of three special episodes recorded for the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative, this conversation with human rights attorney and inclusion specialist Nicole Lee helped me hold a growth mindset in having conversations about race, especially with my children.
Kate is a fierce advocate for social justice who isn’t afraid to use her gift for communication to speak out against racism and to shine a light on white privilege. I hope this conversation will help us realize that fighting against racism is our responsibility, that we can step into brave spaces to do this work, and that the time to take steps, wherever you are on the activism spectrum, is now.
This third and final in a series I recorded as part of the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative comes with a call to action to get involved with this issue today. Fueled by her own experience, Sara joined in creating Mother’s Against Police Brutality, as a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition uniting mothers nationwide to fight for civil rights, police accountability and policy reform.
We ended our conversation with a co-created prayer, a wish for ourselves as much as for all of you listening, to move into greater responsibility for this work from wherever we are, to have the courage to go to those difficult and painful places so we can create a freer future, and to take this moment right now to support this cause.

Please join us in making a donation and note that you are giving through the Mother’s Quest’s Fundraising Campaign.

Click HERE to Support the Cause

What is the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative?

Women Podcasters in Solidarity is a collective of women podcasters who have made a pledge to build awareness and funds for social justice through their podcasting platforms. This is a twice-yearly, ongoing initiative with the first focus being on Anti-Racism and the Movement for Black Lives.

Click HERE to Listen to the Podcasts

Season 3 coming in February!

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/

 

 

Opening Our Spaces and Honoring Martin Luther King

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In honor of Martin Luther King Day, I wanted to share a profound experience I had through my podcast. Though this conversation took place a year ago, the messages and call to action are as relevant and needed as ever…

When I interviewed my friend and colleague, Jenjii Hysten, I was deeply moved by the authenticity and spirit of our conversation about coming together as mothers of sons across our differences.

I hadn’t planned it this way, but it must have been divine timing that this interview came out the week that we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King.

JENJII’S REFLECTION AND INVITATION

Toward the end of the interview, Jenjii reflects on Martin Luther King’s ability to bring together people of different races, different classes and different religions and to create space and place for them all to live in their truth and yet become one. And, she offers a challenge to all of us… some small way that we can help honor his legacy:

“We have to intentionally open up as adults our spaces and places to bring people who are not like us in, so that our children can see that we as adults are inclusive…that we don’t just say or read about it, but that we are it….we are not the multitude of sub-groups, but that we are human”

In our interview, Jenjii and I talked about how we have begun opening space and place for our families to come together. I invite you to listen if this calls to you and make a commitment to open your space and place to another family you have been wanting to reach out to.

SHARE WHAT YOU ARE DOING…

I also know so many of you are carrying forward MLK’s legacy in other powerful ways. Let’s share here on this important day. What are you doing with your family on MLK Day to be of service? What are you doing in your life and work to move us toward equality, justice and connecting our common humanity? Or what new commitment do you want to make?

Ten Most Downloaded Episodes in 2017 – An End of Year Gift for You!

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This last year has been an adventure and a year of incredible growth and learning as I set out to live a more E.P.I.C. life in the midst of challenging times. I’m so grateful to the guides who came on the podcast and helped light the way to more mindful engagement with my children, passionate and purposeful work and activism, investment in my personal growth and learning and connection to community.

And, I’m also appreciative to all of you who came along with me, who tuned into these intimate conversations and brought the lessons and challenges into your own E.P.I.C. lives.

As a tribute, we’ve compiled this listening list (in case you missed a few favorites or want to listen again for powerful reminders) of the Ten Most Downloaded Episodes of the Mother’s Quest Podcast from Season 1 and 2.

Hope these conversations spark some new learning and will set you on a course for an even more fulfilling 2018. To stay connected, be sure to sign up for the email list at www.mothersquest.com to get announcements for when Season Three begins in February, 2018 and join the Facebook group to be part of ongoing reflection and conversation.

Until then, enjoy these most downloaded episodes. And, if you’d like to contribute your voice to an upcoming E.P.I.C. milestones episode, use the speakpipe tool on the website to leave me a message about YOUR favorite episode and how it has impacted you.

Have a wonderful new year!

Xoxo,

Julie Neale

Mother’s Quest Podcast
Ten Most Downloaded Episodes from 2017 – An End of Year Gift for You!

(listed in alphabetical order by last name)

Ep 15: Superpowers and Service with Karen Baker
It was a total joy for me to reconnect with my mentor Karen and I left the conversation so appreciative of the work she does in my state of California, reminded of the importance of using our superpowers to benefit others, and inspired to engage my own children in service.

Ep 25: Change the Conversation: Podcasting as a Tool for Transformation with Elsie Escobar
She Podcasts co-host Elsie is a self-proclaimed die hard podcast junkie. She especially loves to help women like myself find clarity and power in our voice and shift the narrative to focus on the things that matter most, not the numbers or downloads, but the transformative power of podcasting and expanding our podcasting audience.

Ep 11: “Flawed” with Truth Bomb Mom Kristina Kuzmic
I love this vulnerable conversation with the Truth Bomb Mom, Kristina Kuzmic. Energetic, funny, and honest, Kristina has an in-your-face perspective on issues of parenting and life in general.

Ep 27: Courageous Conversations about Race with Nicole Lee
The first of three special episodes recorded for the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative, this conversation with human rights attorney and inclusion specialist Nicole Lee helped me hold a growth mindset in having conversations about race, especially with my children.

Ep 24: Intersectionality and the Age of the New Heroine with Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin

This conversation with Elizabeth, who guides thousands of us through the twists and turns of today’s political landscape through her daily Resistance Lives on Facebook, helped me define a new kind of heroine’s journey, one where we continually bring back the lessons learned along the way and use our voices for change.

 

Ep 18: YOLO (You Only Live Once) and other Milestone Reflections with Ryan Neale
In this special episode, you’ll hear my son Ryan share eloquently and honestly about his appreciation for the support that helped him conquer his developmental delays, how his own fears manifest in his life today, and how, in his next chapter, he wants to  move through his fear. Because, he says, he wants to live with a YOLO (You Only Live Once) mindset.

Ep 10: Choosing Gratitude and Glitter with Nancy Netherland
In our conversation, we explore how Nancy’s parents instilled a sense that anything is possible, something she has needed to draw on as she faced the loss of her husband and the serious, chronic illnesses of her daughters. A total inspiration, Nancy shares how she and her girls cultivate generosity and pay that generosity forward through something they created called “gratitools.”

Ep 20: On Being Mom and Being Boss with Kathleen Shannon
Kathleen Shannon embodies the qualities of an independent, hard-working feminist. She also has this incredible generosity and openness and has impacted so many women, including myself, by sharing her experiences as a mother and an entrepreneur. In this episode, we cover a lot of territory, from the challenges of motherhood to how to design your ideal week.

Ep 06: Healthy and Happy with Dr. Elisa Song
In this conversation with my children’s pediatrician, Elisa and I talk about how the legacy of brave women in her life, making courageous choices, impacted her and her sisters and set them all on a path to become healers and helpers. Her grandmother and mother, who both came to America from Korea, instilled independence, strength, and “grit” in her, which she relied on to follow her passion in integrative medicine.

Ep 14: Breaking the Mold and Finding your Worth with Amanda Steinberg
Amanda was chosen as one of Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 and recently was named to Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business – all for good reason: she has revolutionized the relationship between women and their finances. In our conversation, Amanda inspires us to find our worth, re-define our relationship with money, and invest in ourselves.

Virtual Mother’s Quest Circle Pilot in 2018 – Sign up Today!

You’re a mindful mother. And being present for your children in these years when you’re raising them is your highest priority. You’re also committed to making a positive impact in the world, something that feels even more important with all the challenges we currently face.

If the description above sounds like you, the Virtual Mother’s Quest Circle Pilot, launching in 2018, may be right for you.

This signature offering provides inspiration, coaching and community to spark your E.P.I.C. life with intimate virtual group sessions over four months, a one-on-one session with me, thought-provoking homework assignments and accountability partner meetings in between sessions and a private Facebook group. All offered at a special one-time pilot rate of $325.

Click http://mothersquest.com/virtualcircle/ to learn and apply. The group will start as soon as I have a committed number of participants so don’t delay if you’re interested. Questions? Email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Visit the Website

If you haven’t yet visited the website, head over to www.mothersquest.com to explore some of the ways you can get more connected. At the site, you can sign up for our email list (to get show notes delivered to your inbox and our new “Mothers on a Quest” features), click the link to join the Facebook group and press record to leave a voice message for me. You can also download the FREE Live Your E.P.I.C. Life Planning and Reflection Sheets.

Acknowledgements:

A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

  • Emily Cretella of MotherHustle
  • Collette Flanagan, founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality
  • Titilayo Tinubu Ali of Own Your Expertise
  • Carly Magnus Hurt
  • Lizzy Russinko of This (Un)Scripted Life
  • Suzanne Brown, author of Mompowerment
  • Mara Berns Langer
  • Mallory Schlabach of Marketing Magic for Entrepreneurs
  • Katharine Earhart of Alesco Advisors
  • Jessica Kupferman of She Podcasts
  • Resistance Artist Jen Jenkins Dohner
  • Genese Harris
  • Tonya Rineer, founder of The Profit Party
  • Liane Louie-Badua
  • Cristin Downs of the Notable Woman Podcast
  • Erin Kendall of Fit Mom Go
  • Niko Osoteo of Bear Beat Productions
  • Erik Newton of The Together Show
  • Claire Fry
  • Divya Silbermann
  • Rachel Winter
  • Caren and Debbie Lieberman
  • Cameron Miranda
  • Fran and David Lieberman
  • Debbie and Alan Goore
  • Jenise and Marianne of the Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contributionhttp://mothersquest.com/be-a-supporter/

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/

 

The Power of Reflective Circles and How They’ve Changed Me

By | Reflections From My Quest | No Comments

September 9, 2017 – Updated October 2018

I grew up the youngest of three sisters and have memories of sitting at the dinner table with my chin in my hands watching and listening to them talk. My oldest sister is very articulate and my middle sister so humorous. Between the two of them, I didn’t feel like I had anything worthwhile to add.

About fifteen years ago, I sat in my “Adult Reflection Circle” at Alternatives in Action where I worked and mentioned that I struggled with sharing what was on my mind.  I felt confident I could express myself in writing, but when it came to speaking, I hesitated. A member of the circle said, “That’s amazing to hear. Because when you get ready to talk, I lean in to hear more. I know I’m going to hear something powerful. You’re one of the most articulate people I know.”

That moment, when someone in the circle could see me in ways I couldn’t see myself, changed me. I began opening my mouth to speak more often, imagining that I had something someone might need to hear.

Twelve years ago, my husband and I faced news that our oldest son Ryan, then a toddler, wasn’t developing typically and needed intensive intervention. I was angry, afraid and depleted. I reached out to some friends who had started their own personal reflection circle and said “I need in.” For the next five years, that circle supported and championed me, gave me the space to cry, laugh, and commit to action that was instrumental in Ryan thriving today.

In the year before launching Mother’s Quest, circles changed me again. I joined a Power Circle through Emerging Women, and shared out loud for the first time my vision for Mother’s Quest. The women in the circle reflected back the value in my ideas and the passion they saw in me to make it happen. Months later, I created my own “Founder’s Circle,” and convened a meeting to lay out my plans. The women, in the group asked me amazing questions,  clarified my thinking, and helped me develop a strategy. They also let me test out my ideas for a Mother’s Quest Circle and allowed me to witness the connection among mothers possible through my vision.

Mother’s Quest Circles – A Signature Experience to Spark Your E.P.I.C. Life

In every example, being part of a circle helped me become a bigger, more confident version of myself and gave me support to get clear and connected to my goals so I could take more effective action. As a CTI-trained coach and facilitator of reflective circles in the non-profit field for over 10 years, I’ve seen this same transformative experience happen again and again for those sitting in the circle.

That’s why, when I launched Mother’s Quest, I knew that Circles would be my signature coaching offer, the key vehicle for helping mothers live their version of a more E.P.I.C. life.

After two successful pilots, I’m honored and excited to open applications again for a Bay Area Mother’s Quest Circle, beginning in November, for an intimate group of women who are ready to take intentional, purposeful action in their lives and want to do it “in community” instead of alone.

We’ll meet through a combination of in-person and via Zoom for four two hour sessions that will include the weaving in of E.P.I.C. skills training (based on skills I learned as a coach), personal introspection and sharing, and group coaching/reflection. Each member of the group will commit to one bold action step that they will complete before the end of our four session cycle. And, I’ll also offer one bonus one-on-one coaching session at the time that feels most pivotal for each participant. Along the way, we’ll build close relationships, hold one another accountable to our aspirations, and help one another see the greatness in ourselves, as mothers and also as leaders with a unique impact to make.

Next Steps – Apply Today!

The first review of applications begins on November 2nd. Please take a look at the link for for more information and apply today if it feels like what YOU need to more fully live your E.P.I.C. life. Email me at julie@mothersquest.com if you have any questions I can answer. Not right for you, but may be for someone else? Please help spread the word.

Mother’s Quest Circle

I’m so grateful for the power of circles in my life and look forward to witnessing all the ways that being part of a Mother’s Quest Circle becomes a transformative experience for the women who say “yes” to this unique opportunity. If you’ve been wanting to invest in yourself and continually dismiss that desire…decide today to listen to that voice and see if this could support you!

Until then, seize the day, love your people, honor your gifts,

Julie

P.S. Interested in the Circle but you don’t live in the Bay Area? Sign up for the wait list for the Virtual Mother’s Quest Circle experience, at the bottom of this page, and you’ll be the first to know when we launch a Virtual Circle.

Women Podcasters in Solidarity

By | Reflections From My Quest | No Comments

August 12, 2017

On this day, a year ago, I learned that my childhood friend Leslie Rabinovitz Fischer passed away in the night after a three year battle with pancreatic cancer.

I sat down that morning to reflect on the lessons Leslie gave me about how to live my life and wrote the words that became the mantra that closes every Mother’s Quest Podcast Episode, “Seize the day, love your people, honor your gifts.”

I also wrote that there is no time for “bullshit.” There’s nothing like seeing your friend face mortality to put things in perspective.

This morning, a year later, I woke up to devastating news again. News about white supremacists marching in Virginia with torches and Nazi salutes.

My experience losing Leslie, and the messages that have become mantras, inspire me to move past my own “bullshit” today and into action…past my own limiting beliefs that I can’t really make a difference, that if I speak out in any way I’ll just say the wrong thing or do more harm, that I can’t handle the harsh judgement (on either side) from being visible on an issue like racism and police brutality.

Many may have seen posts from me in previous months, or listened to my conversation on the podcast with Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin about an initiative I’m working on to raise awareness and funds related to Black Lives Matter.

The initiative is not perfectly planned yet. I’m still trying to find guests for my podcast, speakers for my bay area event, and to find a fiscal sponsor for the Mother’s Quest Giving Fund. And, I haven’t officially invited other women podcasters to pledge to be a part.

But, what I’m waking up to this morning, with my memory of Leslie’s life lessons and the horrific news of yesterday, is there’s no time to wait. It will never be perfect. And, I want to be part of some positive action today in response to yesterday’s ugliness.

If you are a women podcaster (or live show host) with a platform and want to be part of the initiative, “Women Podcasters in Solidarity,” visit www.mothersquest.com/solidarity to sign up.

I envision this as a twice-yearly initiative for social justice with the first focus being on the Black Lives Matter Movement and raising awareness about racism. If you pledge to be involved, you would commit to doing a podcast episode on this subject between September and mid-November. There are additional optional pledges you could make which include inviting listeners to contribute to a related cause and talking to the children in your life about these issues in a developmentally appropriate way. In December, I’ll assemble a list of what was accomplished with links to all the episodes and spread the word about our collective impact.

If you’re a mother working on the frontlines of this issue and you’re open to helping to educate and raise awareness OR a mother who wants to learn, message me and sign up at www.mothersquest.com for email updates.

Appreciate any help spreading the word…

“Seize the day, honor your gifts, love your people.” And, expand that definition of what “your people” really means.

With love,

Julie