Friday, October 8, 2010

Of Surprises and Success

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.

Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.

Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Albert Camus

I was met with a wonderful celebration this Sunday in Central Park. Christine, Mari and Monica had organized a surprise party for my being named one of Golf Digest’s best young teachers and one of Golf Magazine’s Fab 40 under 40. The articles put me alongside such pros and contributors as Tiger Woods and Lorena Ochoa. It was a huge honor but what was even more rewarding? Sharing it with those I love.
There are notions of success as singular. It’s something you work for, and eventually own. What I realized on Sunday is that true success, in it’s best form, is a community undertaking. Not only does it take a village to achieve, but it should also have a village present to celebrate. I talk a lot about the angels in my life, how they build me up, but on Sunday I really saw them in action. There were students and parents, family and friends and what I realized when I looked at all the familiar faces is that I could not have done it without each and every one of them. They were all a part of the last ten years, and the moments that led me to this one.
I believe strongly that great success can never be achieved without service, that it is through making it about something bigger than ourselves that our own dreams are realized. What I saw on Sunday was that true success cannot be celebrated without the acknowledgment of others, either. Because nothing takes place in a vacuum. We are all blessed to support, encourage and affect each other’s lives.

Celebrate Success,


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's In The Process

Sometimes I think we’re too focused on the big picture, the end goal, the bottom line. Sometimes I think we don’t have enough appreciation for the process. My program isn’t successful because my students learn how to play golf (although they do). My program is successful because I connect with my students, I get on their level. I understand them and respect where they are at in each and every moment in each and every lesson. It doesn’t matter what will happen a month from now. Right here, in this moment—that’s what we need to get right.

It’s not about the perfect swing it’s about the perfect moment learning the swing. It’s about connecting to the game…cultivating joy, love and commitment to the sport. It’s moments like the ones in class that we often ignore. We consider them “leading up” moments, never realizing they are actually the whole point entirely. It’s these seconds, minutes, hours that make the player. It’s the kind words and the connection and the silly exercises and the laughter that creates the memories of the game and the will and drive to continue to play.

My goal is to construct our lessons in such a way that they not only lay the foundation for all the wonderful things to come but that they themselves ARE the wonderful things. That just by being there and being present together, we’ve made the point. It also allows me to really be focused with the children and to see opportunities for growth. Perhaps they’ll be open to something new—a different way of problem solving, another tool in their magic toolbox. It’s these little moments, this process, that makes the lesson. It’s not just golf, it’s life, and it’s why I teach. It’s what makes me passionate about education and what keeps me committed to the presence, joy and purpose in my own life.

Take a few moments this week to pay attention to your own process. Honor it, recognize it, and celebrate it.

With love,


Thursday, September 30, 2010

SNAG: Starting New At Golf

This blog has been a long-time coming and I hope it gives some insight into a subject that is the source of a lot of joy (and some frustration) in my program. Yes, my friends, the time has come to talk about SNAG®.

I get asked a lot what SNAG® is and why I use it with the children I teach- children of all levels. Some parents see their son or daughter outside with all these funny, colorful tools and wonder if there is a method to the madness. The simple answer? DEFINITELY.

I believe in having intention in everything I do, including the choices I make regarding equipment. SNAG® tools are created by PGA professionals and are absolutely ideal for teaching children golf. The instruments make the game manageable and digestible for students of all ages and the equipment also comes in a variety of sizes so that children can reap the benefits of training tools designed specifically for them.

SNAG® equipment teaches, reinforces and encourages all of the same concepts and physical movements of traditional clubs-- spine tilt, shaft angle, tempo, wrist hinge etc. Most importantly, SNAG equipment offers endless opportunities to get creative with the game of golf while keeping children engaged in the sport.

It should also be noted that tennis, a sport with a high number of young players, has recently completely revolutionized their junior program, mandating that all players under the age of ten use lighter, smaller racquets and play with different court configurations in tournaments. The transition is aimed to make tennis much more accessible—and JOYFUL—for young players and to foster a dynamic of success and play on the court.

Since our children are city-dwellers, the use of modified equipment is crucial. In addition to enabling us to play indoors and in confined outdoor spaces, SNAG® is a wonderful way to teach the anatomy of a golf course, and makes the transition from our program onto the course a natural and seamless one.

We need to change the paradigm. Instead of thinking about “proper” clubs and getting caught up with “real” equipment we need to acknowledge what is appropriate and accessible for young golfers. We need to understand that while SNAG® is a departure, it is a change in the absolute best direction. It is progress and improvement. We’re taking the tools that we know and trust and bending them to better fit our needs. SNAG works and I will endorse it with my whole heart time and time again.

I believe SNAG® is a big part of why our program is different and why we continue to evolve to new levels of success. I want children to have the best of every world—the “proper” technique of a real golf lesson, the fun, dynamic energy of an athletic activity, and the mental preparedness to take their game out into the open.

Play golf!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Power of Priorities

I started my central park program this week and the first thing I saw trucking up the grass were three boys from St. Thomas More Playgroup- cue the heartstrings. I’ll admit, it was bittersweet, especially when one of them asked with big, eager eyes: “Why aren’t you teaching us movement anymore? We miss you.”
I had to swallow a lump in my throat because the truth is, I miss them, too. But being a teacher, I saw the space of the moment, and jumped in. I got down on his level and asked if he’d ever had to make a decision. “Did you ever want to play soccer and go to the movies and have ice cream but you could only do one of those things? Sometimes we have to make a decision, even if it’s hard for us.”
He seemed satisfied and we had a wonderful lesson but the conversation served as a springboard for me—it made me really think about priorities.
So often in life we try to do everything, and do it well. We work, take care of our families, exercise our bodies, feed our stomachs, support our creative and artistic ambitions. One of my closest friends likes to say this: “sometimes, something’s gotta give.” I used to have a problem with that. It seemed to diminish my capability to lead an expansive, holistic life because the truth is, I CAN do everything and do it well. What I realized after class last week is that something giving doesn’t have to be about dropping the ball. It can be a conscious, thoughtful choice to prioritize.
Sometimes it’s not about doing a million things well but doing one thing well. More than that, even, it’s about doing one thing well and leaving space to do another thing well in the future. Sometimes we’re so focused on keeping all the balls in the air we forget to leave room to for improvement, for growth. We forget to leave room for our dreams to come in and take us to that next level.
Right now I’m missing creative movement so I’m prioritizing that in my life. Not as a job the way it looked before, but as an intention. I’m putting out there that I want to teach creative movement in a way that best supports my life, the one I’m currently living, growing with, and working on.
There are a lot of priorities in our lives and all of them are important. What I encourage you all to do this week is, just a little bit, prioritize space. Prioritize the unknown. Prioritize intention.
Set the space and watch what magic comes in to fill it,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Teach and Learn

I wanted to share with you all some experiences from the past few weeks. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play in the LPGA T & CP National Championship and wow, was it eye opening. Dana Rader, our national president, hosted the event and her presence was a source of inspiration and tremendous support. It reminded me how important golf is, and how empowering.
The first thing I should say was that my game was off. I didn’t play my best, but I wasn’t expecting to. I hadn’t been practicing at that level and I just wasn’t there. The amazing thing was that I pulled up my resources. I started talking to myself. Some of my usual mantras: I can, I am, I will. After awhile I wasn’t concerned with how I was playing. I realized what I really wanted from the weekend was to touch down with people I respect. To make connection.
There were five speakers there and I went to hear Cindy Miller. She’s a legend. She’s been in the top 50 for many years and is welcoming, warm and just so delightful. What she really stressed, though, was not proper swing technique, determination or talent. What she stressed was making light of things. She seemed to exude an air of just having FUN. It made me realize that I do this. With my students, on the course, in the classroom, this is my philosophy--- PLAY golf. Have fun. It was a validating moment for me, knowing I bring this to my students, but it also helped me relax with my own game. To not take myself so seriously. To know that even if I don’t play my absolute best being present and enjoying the experiences of the sport are the most important things.
I smiled through the rest of the tournament. It became a move. Right before I took the club I would smile. It was part of my prep. I was able to organize my thoughts with that smile, rein them in. I was focused and fully present. I was joyful. Smiling changed everything.
I also learned that I want someone like Cindy in my life. That it’s not enough to just teach, that I must continually learn. I realized the incredible privilege I have as an instructor and the enormous gift it is to teach lightness and joy in life. I want my children to know they’re the King. I want them to feel grand and big and totally empowered. I want them to know how bright they shine. And through teaching, I want to be taught. I want to reach higher and stretch farther and grow bigger. I want to be my absolute best so I can always be of the utmost service.
Teach, but never forget to learn--

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Moving On

I have some news to share with you all. It’s exciting and sad and liberating and scary and melancholy and joyful all at once, so here goes: I’m not coming back to school this year.
For those of you who don’t know I’ve been teaching creative movement at St. Thomas More Playgroup for the last ten years. I loved it there and my decision to leave was a tough one. I’ve made wonderful friends, seen classrooms of children through school, and genuinely enjoyed each and every day I spent there. We laughed, we played, we jumped for joy, and then, as with all things, it was time to move on.
The transition has allowed me to reflect on change and while there are many sorrowful things about saying goodbye, this is one of the true gifts. Many of us human beings don’t like change. We construct our lives against it, build walls to keep it out, even stay in circumstances and relationships that are no longer serving us all for the end goal of not rocking the boat. Keeping things par for the course. Not moving.
The irony of life is that it brings change. There is no steel strong enough change cannot cut through, no brick thick enough. It will come and when it does it is our choice whether we fight against it or whether we surrender and embrace it, knowing when the wind changes it blows us in a new direction…one that very well may bring about all kinds of wonderful things.
It was time to invest myself in KTUGA, to grow the business the way my dreams envision it and throw myself body and soul into the endeavor. It’s a risk, meeting change, but it’s also a great leap of faith and if nothing else I believe that when we leap, the net appears. It’s usually scary to step off that ledge and sometimes it seems impossible, but if and when we do it, we just might find that our wings work after all.
Here’s to change, moving on, leaping…and flying.
With love,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Right Where We Are

Teaching in New York it’s no wonder that parents are concerned with their child’s “progress.” Mothers often question me as to whether their child is learning the proper technique in our classes and whether they are progressing at the right rate. My answer is always the same: your child is right where they need to be.

Let’s think about that. So rarely in life do we ever hear those words: right where we need to be. I talk a lot about how the children I teach help me to stay present, to live completely here and now, but as adults we often need to remind one another, as well. Children as amazing at this. They are not concerned with the proper way to hold a club but rather the joy they feel at doing it. They are present, alive, focused on the sheer magnitude of what it means to channel the energies of a moment and live completely in the present.

Don’t get me wrong, the children I teach learn real skills. I wouldn’t be a good instructor if I didn’t give them things to build on, and shape their future game, but I think the most important thing my students get from me is the space to be exactly where they are, to let the joy and complete presence of experience swell around them and allow that moment to carry them on to the next and the next and the next. Because the truth is we all are in process. Perhaps when we are learning a new skill or watching a child develop this process is more apparent but we are all, every single last one of us, works in progress.

Recently I had the supreme honor of being Golf Digests “top 20 under 40.” There were some amazing teaching professionals in the category and the entire experience was incredibly inspiring. During an interview to correspond with the article one of the questions they asked me was to talk a bit about a student of mine. Many people noted pro golfers, etc. My answer? My six year old student Katie. At practice we were working on Katie’s chip shot. The club was heavy for her and she was having a hard time just holding it. Katie wasn’t concerned, though. Katie was happy to be right where she was. She built up a little more as the week went on and by Friday she was holding the club like a pro. Was she doing a chip shot? No. But she was holding a club and she couldn’t have been happier with her progress. She couldn’t have been happier period. This is because children know something we don’t. They know something about being where they are when they’re there. They don’t think about the future because it doesn’t matter. Everything is irrelevant besides this moment. Where we’re going and where we’ve been have no significance if we don’t know and appreciate where we are.
Take some time this week to be where you are. I have a feeling if you stop and look around, you’ll be happy to find yourself there.

Breathe and be present,


Friday, March 19, 2010

Play Golf

Hello everyone! I’ve been out of the “blogosphere” for too long and am jumping back in, full force! It’s been a busy and demanding winter with lots of exciting transitions and achievements. I look forward to growing The Urban Golf Academy this spring and expanding through my own work with children, and, of course, sharing what they teach ME here with all of you.

In the process of branding my name I came up with this tagline: Play Golf.
I wanted to kick off my spring blog by talking a little bit about what that means for me, and how important I think the term “play” is.

Children learn through play. What does that mean? It means that when we make something enjoyable, dynamic and interactive, the information in the lesson is retained. When children are having fun they are open and when they are open, they learn. People often say that what you love in school usually ends up becoming a part of the career you pursue and I’ve always lived by the motto: do what you love and success will follow. The reason I love the tagline “Play Golf” is not because I want my children to become professional golfers, but because I want them to have fun and through having fun, I want them to learn!

This applies to adults, too. At a certain point in our academic careers we begin to associate learning with a “have to.” We have to go to school, we have to sit in desks, we have to stay quiet, we have to listen to the teacher. It becomes constricting, limiting and above all else, our internal nature rebels against it. Now I’m not suggesting all of school be a free for all, far from it. I am constantly monitoring my students to see what they need and when. Is there energy that needs to be dispelled? Great, let’s do something super physical. Are they feeling quiet and contemplative? Great, time to talk through some of the nuts and bolts of our activities. What I AM saying is that learning is a dynamic, holistic process. Children are not simply input/output machines but human beings with complex needs, desires and learning styles. What play does is it allows us to get out of the “right” and “wrong” of things. It allows us, as adults, and children alike to have a bit more freedom and space in the learning process and feel our way, organically, to the end result of achievement.

The goal is not to slap some sticker on ourselves for a job well done but to actively enjoy our lives, to explore with purposeful understanding and limitless joy at the wide expanse of unknown. There is so much to discover for children. The world is so new and so wide open. But I think that if we, too, took a bit more time to play we’d see how much we have to discover. Life moves onward and we live each and everyday. Why not Play towards success? You have to get there somehow…might as well enjoy it.

PLAY golf,


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fidning Freedom

I love to play guitar. I have always said that I would give up my talent for golf if I could learn how to play the guitar and speak Italian fluently. Va bene.

I recently bit the bullet and bought a guitar. Not anything phenomenal but something to mediate the fact that the Italian thing just doesn’t seem to be working out.
And oh, I love to play. I’ve been playing at home a lot, practicing and strumming, and this week I decided to bring the guitar in and play for the children. Sometimes between regular and extended day I will lie down with the children and play some music. Usually this involves the mellower side of my ipod shuffle but this week it was yours truly, on the guitar.

The children loved it. I strummed and they dozed and it was so peaceful and beautifully calm in that room I wanted to stay put forever. But something else was happening, too. Something that made me feel able to strum without fear: I felt free.
In front of adults I am hesitant about my guitar. I think that perhaps I don’t play well enough and they are going to judge me, critique me, or anything of the sort, but with the children I felt simply at peace. Remarkably so. I looked out into their resting bodies and droopy eyes and felt again a profound sense of freedom.

This is not something incredible new. I teach children because they make me feel free, because they allow me to be my goofy, silly, REAL self all the time. They don’t care if I get it “right” or if I’m “correct” they just care that I am there and that I am authentic and that I am present.

I speak all the time about how much children give me, how much I learn from them, but this is perhaps the most precious gift they offer: the gift of freedom.
They provide the space in which to feel, to fly to the highest reaches of myself and defy the odds of what I thought my limitations were. I love them because in that space of freedom, they challenge me. They challenge me to accept myself for who I am and to stay open and present to all that life has to offer. The gift of freedom…is there anything better?

Live in peace,


Monday, February 1, 2010

Toot Your Own Horn

I know I blog a lot about intention and community and how we are all connected and all of that is TRUE, to be sure, but sometimes, on some days, you just gotta brag a little. Yes, toot your own horn.

I credit Dana Radar with first inspiring me to “toot my own horn.” Dana Radar started her own golf program and has been incredibly successful. She came into my first LPGA week-long seminar nearly three years ago to talk about the business side of golf and I remember her standing up there and saying “sometimes, you just HAVE to toot your own horn.” She was inspiring, eloquent and I have never forgotten her words.

During golf on Monday we were having a particularly silly time. One little girl, Catherine, said to me “this is crazy fun!” and then, a few minutes later, “this is WILD fun!”

Wild fun indeed. We were having a rollicking good time. SNAG obstacle courses, lots of laugher, and of course, some serious talent. I must admit, we were all in top form.

“I am the best golfer,” Catherine said, smiling.

“I am the best golfer, too!” Julianne said.

Don’t you love how it wasn’t a competition, simply a session of encouragement? Children are so good at that!

“Ok, I have an idea,” I told the girls, “let’s show off to the boys.”

We called them over, those boys. The girls rocked it. Absolutely nailed it. They were practicing their chip shots and swings and all kinds of moves. They were empowered by this show off thing. They were hot stuff!

Usually we are told to be modest and kind. We are taught to lift others up sometimes at the expense of pushing ourselves down. But, I must ask, what is the harm of being your own champion now and again? I’m not saying to feed our egos but hey, some self confidence never hurt anyone.

My teaching method has always been about empowerment. The power to see yourself as great and the power to envision greatness. What I saw in the children when they showed off was not ego maniacs but people who felt empowered, who KNEW the power of their own presence and who wanted to cultivate and maintain that.

What are you good at? Go on, toot your own horn. Let’s hear them sound!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Principle of Perfection

Last week I had my four year olds do some problem-solving exercises. It’s a fun game wherein I give them a challenge (make a square with your bodies!) and close my eyes until they have completed the task. Most they can get on their own but a particular pattern became quite complicated. I asked them to make a pattern of boy boy boy girl and line up in that order. I must admit hearing them work it out amongst themselves (with my eyes closed!) was quite funny and I had to stifle more than a few giggles. It wasn’t working, though, and I had to open my eyes and help them out. Eventually we got it solved and moved on to a different problem: make a backwards circle.

The children told me to open my eyes relatively quickly and I saw that they had made a sort-of circle with some children sitting with their backs facing inwards and some children sitting sideways and others a bit outside. I congratulated them on their achievement but one boy seemed displeased.

“This side isn’t right and this person should move in and this isn’t good,” he said. He was right, of course, but what he was suggesting and asking was beyond the skill level of the group. In other words, it was never going to happen.

“You know Jonathan,” I told him, “it’s just not going to be perfect and we’re going to have to accept that.” He looked at me, a little baffled, then looked around the circle and nodded. And then he did something very, very cool. He stood up and asked “what now?”

Imagine if we could let perfection go this easily, if we could be reminded, with one simple word, that everything does not have to exact to be meaningful and simply move forward. What could we do, how far could we reach, if we weren’t always so hung up on getting it right?

I find the biggest lessons and greatest achievements come not when I am working towards matching a specific goal but when I am open to the experience of the moment and all it has to offer. We may not create a perfect backwards circle but we will build something even more meaningful: a memorable afternoon and the confidence and openness to keep trying.

With love,


Monday, January 25, 2010

V Formation

I have always loved birds. Maybe it has something to do with their ability to fly, to soar above the clouds and roam free in the skies. Birds seem so uninhibited, so unattached, so willing to take that leap of faith on a moment’s notice. Which is why when I learned about V formation many years ago I was surprised, and then delighted.
We all know what V formation is. It is the shape in which birds fly when they are headed somewhere distant. It is their mode of transport, so to speak, and they never deviate. They always fly together. Independent? I think not.

I looked into V formation a bit more and found out that there are certain wind channels that are created/ disturbed by this particular phenomenon which means that by flying next to each other birds actually help one another. They can fly much greater distances in V formation than all on their own. Another thing that is interesting about V formation is that the birds switch off on being the leader, so everyone pulls the weight of the group at some point. Furthermore, the V is arranged so that every bird can see every single friend that they are flying with. No one is out of sight…ever!

Do I even need to say it? I love this. I absolutely love this. I love how symbolic it is for life: we all have a chance to lead, all have a chance to follow, each one is equally important. How appropriate it is to this concept of community!

I wrote a little the other week about community and about how all of us are connected and the ways in which our words and actions tear others down or raise them up. I find my classroom is a great example of this. I am the instructor, yes, but we all play a part in making sure we fly forward. My children help support me in being the best leader I can be when it is my turn and when it is their turn they teach me about observation, about acceptance and letting go.

Sometimes, during a particularly good moment, I will say that I am in V formation. It means that I am flying forward, certainly, but flying united. Who are the members of your V formation and how do they support you in your flight?

With love,


Friday, January 15, 2010

The Energy of Existence

One of my life mentors is a woman named Dr. Debbie Crews. Dr. Crews is a major sport psychologist who has done work all over but is based predominantly at ASU, the top women’s golf facility in the nation. She studies attention in sport, or, to continue my blog from earlier this week, energy…specifically what kind of energy is being transferred at any given moment during the game of golf. She has worked with golfers and studied their brain waves to reveal that a balanced brain and positive, disciplined thoughts can lead to drastic improvements in the sport world. She has put golfers on horses to help them better understand energy transfer and the way that an athlete must dialogue with the components of their game (be they horses or a golf club). Everything responds to energy, even inanimate objects.

I was at a seminar with Dr. Crews last year and she gave an example of a woman golfer who was struggling with putting. The woman could not seem to improve this specific skill and her spirits were down. Without complicated techniques or new equipment, Dr. Crews gave her an assignment: change one thought.

When this woman went to putt she was now instructed to say: I am a good putter. Every time we went to putt, same thing: I am a good putter.

Her skill improved drastically simply because she changed her thoughts. If there is one thing I have learned from working with children it’s this: if we change our thoughts we change our reality. Energy is everywhere and how you choose to exert it, interact with it, mold it and communicate with it means the difference between failure and success. How you handle yourself emotionally has a direct correlation to how your life physically unfolds.

I love my time with children, all of it, but perhaps my favorite moment of my day comes right at the end, before we say goodbye. We always end with these two words, repeated three times: I can, I can, I can. The children are left with this mantra, this thought of overcoming, of empowerment. I can. I am. I will.

This is the energy of life, of vibrancy, of dreams beyond our wildest wishes. Change your thoughts, your words, and you will change your reality. Anything you desire is within your reach, all you have to do is believe.

With love,


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Avatar Adventures

Last week I was sitting at home and I started ruminating about what I was going to do with the children in the coming months. It’s winter, it’s cold, and I needed a little invigorating. I started thinking about the winter games we could play…make igloos, go sledding and skiing, pretend we are snowflakes, warm ourselves in front of roaring fires, OK. I was excited about the new season; I had a game plan.

Then I saw Avatar. I am probably preaching to the choir by now because it truly does seem like the country has been overtaken by this movie (with good reason) but I loved it and when I came into my classroom Monday morning it became clear to me that we would not be building igloos, we would be playing Avatar.

I asked my children if they knew what an Avatar was. They are young so most of them had not seen the movie but they still knew what I was referring to…there are posters all over this city! I was met with excited chatter. OK. I told them that Avatars have tribes, just like the one here at St. Thomas More Playgroup, and that being a part of a tribe means we are all connected.

I then asked them to close their eyes. I described Pandora, a beautiful world full of incredible, bright colors. I had them imagine towering trees with leaves that were as green as the forest, bright, colorful birds and sweeping blue skies. Then I told them there was a boy in Pandora who sees an incredibly beautiful flower. The flower is the most beautiful thing the boy has even seen and he is curious about it. “Do you know what curious means?” I asked the children. They nodded and shouted out a few examples. “Good! Well, the boy is curious, so curious he wants to touch the flower but when he does it turns in on itself and falls to the ground.” The children’s eyes got big with wonder. “Let’s all be flowers and I am going to be the little boy and when the music stops I am going to come around and touch you. What will you do when I come around and touch you if I am the little boy and you are the flower?”

“Curl up and fall to the ground!”

The game was a success and lots of giggles ensued.

Next I explained to them that the Avatars let foreigners into their world but only if they could be trusted. I told them that there were glowing, jelly-like things that could tell if a person who entered Pandora was good or not. If the glowing jelly landed on you then all of the Avatars would know immediately that you were a good person. “I am going to be the glowing jelly,” I explained to them, “and when I land on you I want you to tell me why you are a good person, because I know each and every one of you is.”

I went around and landed atop each child’s head. Their answers varied from, “I am good because I help my mommy,” to, “I am good because I helped Julianne with her lunch,” but what I noticed is that most of what they said focused on community, on sharing. Yes! “That definitely makes you a wonderful person,” I told the children, encouraging their introspection.

I then told them that on Pandora things worked because of energy and the relationships of energy between the tribe. I asked them to think about how they feel when they get ready to come down here for a Kate Day. “Happy!” they said.
“You feel excited, right?” I asked them. “Well, what if when you came down here I was grumpy, what kind of energy would that be?”

“Sad energy,” one boy said.

“That’s right, that would not be good energy and you know what? It might make you feel bad, too. See we affect people with our energy and bad energy can make good energy feel not so good.” They nodded in agreement. “So when you come down to see me I am excited to see you and our good energy works off each other and we have a great time together.”

I then told them about the birds of Pandora and how they were very mean. But when they came towards the Avatars the Avatars stood strong. I told each child to make their brave stance. Because the Avatars stood strong, the bird’s negative energy could not affect the Avatar’s good energy and instead the Avatar’s good energy transformed the bird’s negative, and they became friends.

Because we are a tribe, we affect one another. We affect each other with the words we use and the actions we take. All of us. If we give nice words we will get nice words back and if we perform nice actions we will get nice actions back. Isn’t this a lesson we can all learn from?

If we are having a bad day it is not just us that is brought down by our negative energy, the people around us are, too. So if the mean birds of life come, stand strong, make your brave stance, and allow the good energy all around you to come in. And when it does, go out and share it. We can make the world a Pandora simply by being positive.

Smile and Be Strong,


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Moving Forward

As I look back on this year I see that it was an incredible one. So many things came to light in allowing me to further my teaching journey. The thing I take the most from last year and the thing I want to bring into this new one, though, is empowerment. That is my major theme. Empowerment of children, empowerment to overcome, to persevere and to let be. I am so excited to be beginning this New Year understanding that there is a time and place for action and that time is right now!

I have put together an incredible winter/spring schedule and I will be adding the Greenwich House to my teaching list… a fantastic downtown base. One of my main goals for this year is to bring my program to more children, to keep expanding, reaching far, and touching as many young minds and hearts as I can. I am thrilled that my new schedule will allow me to begin to do that!

I have also been reflecting a bit on golf and on how my program pushes the boundaries of the sport. I know that what the children and I experience together goes far beyond golf. Golf is what gets them in the door but it is their spark for learning and their willingness to grow and expand that keeps them there. As I do the “what if?” exercises with them and the “I can!” I empower them to think beyond the moment, beyond golf, and what ends up happening is that they become empowered in every aspect of their life. In fact, my children inspire me. Through empowering them they empower me. Their every success mirrors back to me that positivity and intention really are the golden tickets and that their belief in their ability, and my faith in that ability, allows them to do incredible things.

2010! How blessed we all are to be given a new year, a new leaf. I hope this one brings all of my students and readers many joys and blessings. And, of course, the ability to empower, to be empowered, and to serve.

Have a wonderful week!