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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Tools for Life

Oct 31, 2014 03:48PM ● By Linda Sechrist

Most of us believe that we are on Earth to realize our greatest self and to live meaningfully, allowing our life purpose to emerge, unfold and reveal our path forward. “We can do this even in the face of challenges and hardships when we have a sense of our worth and personal power, regardless of our current circumstances or level of performance,” says Denis Waitley, who was formerly responsible for performance achievement of all the U.S. Olympic athletes as the chairman of psychology on the U.S. Olympic Committee Sports Medicine Council. Waitley, who was also the founding director of the National Council for Self-Esteem, points out that when we get results, even in a very small way, we have the fuel to take more chances and have higher expectations for our capabilities.

Natural Awakenings connected with eight local experts that offer methods and practices to help individuals of all ages overcome their false beliefs, gain confidence and increase their sense of personal power.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Hypnotherapy
Marc J. Wagner
Marc J. Wagner

As a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) master practitioner, Marc J. Wagner, founder of the Enlight Center for Holistic Health, in Bonita Springs, approaches self-empowerment from a subconscious perspective. “Our subconscious mind is responsible for our emotions and behavioral patterns,” explains Wagner, who is also a subconscious mind specialist certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists. “Over time, continuous emotional and thought processes deeply imbed false beliefs in the subconscious mind. Generally, clients that have low self-esteem and confidence also have false beliefs about themselves, a situation or others. These individuals gain a sense of self-empowerment after they’ve dispelled the untrue stories they tell themselves. In order to establish and build new positive habits and beliefs, we have to construct new ones to replace the old ones.”

Lynn Thomas
Lynn Thomas
According to Wagner, the motivation to take action or stick with a new habit is also a subconscious pattern formed, or “programmed”, through repetitive actions. “The majority of individuals struggle with building new healthy habits because they are unaware of the power of the subconscious mind, as well as useful tools such as hypnotherapy and NLP, which go straight to the source, the subconscious mind,” he notes.

“Hypnotherapy works exceptionally well in accessing old negative thoughts that keep us from our fullest potential or the best version of our true self,” affirms Lynn Thomas, a registered nurse and certified hypnotherapist who owns Concerned Health Alternatives, in Estero. “When we access old programming, deal with it and neutralize and release old, compounded feelings associated with those habits, then we can reach our highest potential without fear, guilt, anger or sadness.”

Psychotherapy and Interactive Imagery
Marie S. Wright
Marie S. Wright

Psychotherapy provides a unique and safe setting where individuals can heal and grow, change hurtful relationship patterns and increase life fulfillment. Marie S. Wright is a licensed psychotherapist in Naples who integrates traditional psychotherapy using Jungian active imagination and mindfulness meditation. She uses psychotherapy and interactive imagery to help clients identify their goals in each area of life and design the steps to reach them.

Wright sees each of these approaches as essential aspects of self-empowerment. “Interactive imagery helps individuals develop their intuitive abilities and learn to connect to their own inner guidance. This connection enables them to exceed their expectations. When they feel self-empowered, they are better able to guide events in their lives in a direction that is more in line with their needs. This leads to increased satisfaction with life, as well as the extra confidence needed to make changes that improve quality of life,” explains Wright.

Mindfulness Meditation

Madeline Ebelini
Madeline Ebelini
Madeline Ebelini, owner of Integrative Mindfulness, in Bonita Springs, teaches mindfulness meditation. The practice of focusing on the flow of breath through the nostrils and the sensations of breathing builds a strong mindfulness muscle. “Without mindfulness, which involves the quality of non-judgment, we live our lives on automatic pilot—a bundle of repetitive conditioned patterns of thought, emotion and behavior that make up the unexamined life. The automatic pilot has absolute control in the absence of mindfulness, ensuring that nothing ever changes and robbing us of the choice to do things differently,” says Ebelini.

“The key to turning off the automatic pilot and unlocking the door to self-empowerment is training our attention to stay on one thing,” she advises. “This allows us to learn how the mind works. Each time you catch yourself thinking and quickly return your attention to the here and now by anchoring into the feeling of your own breath, you cultivate the skill of being able to notice what’s arising in the present moment and choosing how to respond. This skill translates into empowerment in daily life. By attending to the present moment and noticing the conditioned impulses of the automatic pilot, we can let go of a limiting belief, envision a different outcome or take a chance, rather than playing it safe.”

Fitness Training
Jay Weitzner
Jay Weitzner

Jay Weitzner, a fitness trainer and owner of Symmetry Precision Fitness, in Naples, sees the role that physical health plays in developing self-empowerment on a daily basis. “It’s not only from the perspective of ‘being’ fit and healthy, but also from the process of achieving it. The more confident and self-empowered an individual feels, the

Gen Bartolone
Gen Bartolone
more likely they are to move forward with courage, an increasingly strong will and the resilience to brave the short-term setbacks in order to experience the greater accomplishments,” he advises.

Gen Bartolone, another fitness trainer at the facility, notes that there are definite changes in attitude and self-esteem when an individual meets their fitness goals. “One of my clients had issues with anxiety in social situations and struggled with bipolar disorder,” Bartolone recalls. “She trained to improve balance and coordination and ultimately, lost weight in the process. Her confidence came gradually, and she was able to perform as a featured dancer in a charity fundraiser in front of an audience of hundreds of people. She continues to improve each week.”

Ballroom Dancing
Anastasia Kazmina
Anastasia Kazmina

Anastasia Kazmina, co-owner of the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Naples, personally knows that learning to dance is one of the best ways to gain one of life’s greatest assets—the sense of feeling comfortable in social situations, communicating in any new environment and making new friends and contacts when networking. “Individuals that join dance studios to take lessons, attend open dance events or take group classes may have their different reasons, but their goal is the same; they want to look good and feel confident. Confidence and self-empowerment happen naturally because they are stepping out of their comfort zone and trying something they’ve never done before,” asserts Kazmina.

Horseback Riding

Joanne Jimenez
Joanne Jimenez
Joanne Jimenez, co-owner of Pink Pony Farm, in Naples, who took her first riding lesson when she was 8 years old, knows that horseback riding is an excellent way for a child to develop confidence and a sense of personal power. As a quiet and shy young girl, she quickly made friends through riding. “Riding and doing things with my friends around the barn really helped to draw me out of my shell. We all shared the same love for horses, which created such a special bond that we remained close while growing up,” explains Jimenez, who now teaches children to ride. “The opportunity to be around the horses gave me such a sense of empowerment and kept me on the path of creating goals and being a very responsible child.”

Life Coaching
David Essel
David Essel

“The path of self-empowerment is a continuous process, and it can take a lifetime,” says author David Essel, a master life/relationship coach and the founder of Life Coach Universe, in Fort Myers. To substantiate how the ongoing process builds and is compounded by a stream of small successes, Essel cites an example of a woman he worked with for several months in 2006. “Two months ago, she sent me an unsolicited email testimonial explaining that as she continued to use the tools that I gave her, which helped her to step out of her comfort zone and take risks, life continued to get better year after year, and she quadrupled her income.”

Essel also uses the services of a life coach. “Every Wednesday, she empowers me to continue growing by asking me the type of challenging questions that I ask my clients. She encourages me to come up with seven answers and to choose the best one and go with it. I’ve grown and expanded my business as a result of our coaching relationship, which I find exciting.”

Our local experts concur that rather than envisioning a finish line for self-empowerment, it may be more beneficial to entertain a sustainable growth process, with many meaningful rewards to which we can look forward for the rest of our lives. Waitley suggests that if we need inspiration and encouragement, we can read the biographies of successful people throughout the centuries. “There’s no problem that anyone has that someone else hasn’t already overcome,” he points out.


Helpful Resources for Self-Empowerment Around Naples

Marc J. Wagner, Enlight Center for Holistic Health, 9122 Bonita Beach Rd. SE, Bonita Springs. 239-676-5009.

Lynn Thomas, Concerned Health Alternatives. 239-597-1328.

Marie S. Wright, The French Quarter, 501 Goodlette Rd. N., Ste. D-100, Naples. 239-529-7919.

Madeline Ebelini, Integrative Mindfulness, 3372 Woods Edge Cir., Ste. 102, Bonita Springs. 239-590-9485,

Jay Weitzner, Symmetry Precision Fitness, 1750 J and C Blvd., Ste. 10, Naples. 239-940-2121.

Anastasia Kazmina, Arthur Murray Dance Center of Naples, 3339 Tamiami Trail N., Naples. 239-919-8501,

Joanne Jimenez, Pink Pony Farm, 239-207-1664,

David Essel, Premier Executive Center, 5237 Summerlin Commons Blvd. Ste 234, Fort Myers. 941-266-7676,

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