Success from the Heart – The Heart of the Mendocino Coast, Part 1

I’ve visited the Mendocino coast nearly every year; as far back as I can remember.  My dad was passionate about the Northern California

Village of Mendocino, CA

Village of Mendocino, CA

coast and the rugged shores of Mendocino.  We headed there on summer road trips, to brave the bracing winds and stinging-cold water and watch my mom comb the beaches for shells and pretty pieces of glass.   In my early adolescence I became fascinated with the bohemian lifestyle of the village of Mendocino: a grocery store in an old church, charming bookstores in funky water towers, and colorful people and their artwork all over town.

This year I traveled to the Mendocino coast again as I planned and assisted the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce with a press trip for travel writers.  I was meeting and working and getting to know a few people who live and work in Mendocino and Fort Bragg.   As I listened to them I somehow began to sense what it feels like to live there.  I could feel how different and unique it is to dwell on this coastal edge; edging up against the rocky beaches, cold and windy days, forest roads and rural living.

It’s not completely easy to live on the Mendocino coast.  The town of Fort Bragg, the village of Mendocino and a few small hamlets along Hwy 1 are on their own for providing all of the modern conveniences that we, in the 21st century, take for granted.  Cell phone service is limited, having just landed in Mendocino about two years ago; still, most likely, you have to duck around a corner, or go outside on your porch to pick up a signal.   There are not a lot of choices for employment; working and making a living takes creativity and diligence. Keep reading

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Connecting with Butterflies – Carole Peccorini’s Success from the Heart

I interviewed Carole Peccorini in April of 2008.  Since then The Butterfly Project has raised over half of her goal of $60,000 to fund the college education of Uganda girls.  The Butterfly Project works in collaboration with Village Volunteers, a non-profit organization that works in partnership with rural village and capacity-building programs to support the development of sustainable solutions for

Carole Peccorini and Evaline, Uganda

Carole Peccorini and Evaline, Uganda

community survival, education, and growth.  www.VillageVolunteers.org

Carole Peccorini was my first inspiration to create interviews with people that are working and living from their hearts.  Whether making tons of money or not, it is truly Success from the Heart.  www.TheButterflyProject.com

1.         For your first trip to Uganda, how did you “get the nerve” to go to Africa?

Since childhood I have had a longing and connection with Africa.  My heroes are Albert Schweitzer, Jane Goodall with the chimps, Diane Fossey with the gorillas and the Leakeys searching for the oldest human remains in the Oldavi Gorge. I just love all of the wildlife and the new knowledge based on their long-term research and discoveries.  Over a ten to fifteen year period  I probably read every book they published about Africa.  So it was already in me; a sense and longing that got ignited.  It seemed to be my destiny.

The trip to Uganda in 2005 was with MannaRelief, a non profit program of a biotech nutraceutical company called Mannatech.   I have an independent business with Mannatech.  MannaRelief is devoted to children, providing vital nutrients to the orphans in the developing world.  Their first team went to Uganda in 2005.  I’ve been a pediatric nurse, with a passion and commitment for children.  I got the email about the pending trip to Uganda just 5 or 6 weeks before they were scheduled to depart.  I talked it over with my friend Leta, who also had a lifelong dream to go to Africa and we just said, “Should we say yes?” and we took the leap!  I didn’t have a clue how to come up with the money, had to clear my calendar and didn’t know how it would all work.  But I knew in my heart it would work.  I had made a commitment to myself that in my 60’s I would have life-opening experiences.  The decision came from my heart.  The majority of time you just do what is reasonable and keep things working.  But sometimes an inner self just knows when to make a leap. I trusted that inner self to say “Yes” to something that was transformational and life-changing.

2.         It was during that trip that The Butterfly Project evolved.  Do you remember a  specific incident that sparked the idea for  The Butterfly Project?

Probably a handful of things.  While there, we met with, Dr. Nsaba Butero, the Minister for Information & Broadcasting, in the Office of the President.  He had a PhD in Social Sciences.  I just loved this man! What he said touched me deeply: “We don’t need charity. We’re not looking for handouts. What we need are partners to solve problems.” This conversation happened early in the trip.  Uganda has amazing bio-rich resources and wonderful people. They need partnerships to develop what they have.  They not only want to solve problems for their people, but to participate in the global economy.

In addition to that experience, we were with the kids, the orphans, teaching them about the nutrients.  I had brought 1200 Blue Morpho butterflies, small replicas, to delight the children.  The butterflies were easy to include in my luggage.  The kids just lit up when they got a butterfly!  It was very joyful.  And then, when I would begin to leave, the kids would always hug us and say, “I love you”. They would also say, “When you go home, please tell everyone I love them.”  They made an extraordinary connection to people everywhere.

And, of course, I met Eveline, a young orphan girl who was very bright and engaging.  I asked about continuing school for her and could she go to the university. I found out from Bob, the orphanage director, that it cost $6000, total, to attend the university.  I said to him, “That’s doable!”  From that point I knew the funds would be there for her to go to college if she chose. And while in Uganda, it was my 62nd birthday. I met Bette, also an orphan since six.  She had been trained to be a masseuse and as a gift I was given a massage from Bette.  From learning her story and knowing about all the other girls, by then I just knew that I’d send 10 Ugandan girls to college. It was done and complete in my heart.   It was another big “Yes!”

3.         What’s the most daunting hurdle you’ve had to conquer to get The Butterfly Project going or keep it going?

At some point, transformational vision has to move back into the realm of reasonable.  It was about four of five weeks after I returned before I had the name, The Butterfly Project. In that transformational arena, connections and solutions come magically, but I had to go back and forth between practical actions and transformational connections.  The story made the connections.  The biggest hurdle was turning my vision into a non-profit organization, in addition to running my regular business!  It is an arduous process.  Three main things are needed to establish a non-profit that involves another country: it has to be a legal non profit; there have to be people on the ground in Uganda to make it happen; and there has to be a fundraising division.  I partnered with Global Partners for Development to establish the non profit status and I’ve been learning what it takes to bring The Butterfly Project into a mature, sustainable program that works.

4.         What keeps your commitment going?

The fact that the decision came from my heart, from that sense of spirit within me.  It actually feels sacred, like a covenant.  With that it takes the will to get it going and the passion for it and then the results. There are policies to develop, strategic plans to be made and funds to be raised.  Whenever I do a presentation, the magic of the story re-ignites my commitment.  More stories will develop as the girls attend the universities and have opportunities in their lives that will benefit their villages and the world.  This keeps the juice and joy

Carole and kids, Uganda

Carole and kids, Uganda

going; people’s lives being changed and saying “yes”.

5.         Do you have a specific joyous result or incident that has come from The Butterfly Project?

My vision and prayer for what would happen in my 60’s is happening. My life opened and I have new amazing people in my life.  On a personal level, this is a very powerful result.  And my heart leaps for joy for Evaline!  For her progress in school and knowing she will be able to go to university if she chooses. I’ve seen friends’ lives open from the story and this has allowed them to say yes to transformational possibilities in their own lives.  These opening often arrive unplanned and they usually are not reasonable. But then to see it in action is joyful, to see the results ripple out to many.

1. For your first trip to Uganda, how did you “get the nerve” to go to Africa?

Since childhood I have had a longing and connection with Africa. My heroes are Albert Schweitzer, Jane Goodall with the chimps, Diane Fossey with the gorillas and the Leakeys searching for the oldest human remains in the Oldavi Gorge. I just love all of the wildlife and the new knowledge based on their long-term research and discoveries. Over a ten to fifteen year period I probably read every book they published about Africa. So it was already in me; a sense and longing that got ignited. It seemed to be my destiny.

The trip to Uganda in 2005 was with MannaRelief, a non profit program of a biotech nutraceutical company called Mannatech. I have an independent business with Mannatech. MannaRelief is devoted to children, providing vital nutrients to the orphans in the developing world. Their first team went to Uganda in 2005. I’ve been a pediatric nurse, with a passion and commitment for children. I got the email about the pending trip to Uganda just 5 or 6 weeks before they were scheduled to depart. I talked it over with my friend Leta, who also had a lifelong dream to go to Africa and we just said, “Should we say yes?” and we took the leap! I didn’t have a clue how to come up with the money, had to clear my calendar and didn’t know how it would all work. But I knew in my heart it would work. I had made a commitment to myself that in my 60’s I would have life-opening experiences. The decision came from my heart. The majority of time you just do what is reasonable and keep things working. But sometimes an inner self just knows when to make a leap. I trusted that inner self to say “Yes” to something that was transformational and life-changing.

2. It was during that trip that The Butterfly Project evolved. Do you remember a specific incident that sparked the idea for The Butterfly Project?

Probably a handful of things. While there, we met with, Dr. Nsaba Butero, the Minister for Information & Broadcasting, in the Office of the President. He had a PhD in Social Sciences. I just loved this man! What he said touched me deeply: “We don’t need charity. We’re not looking for handouts. What we need are partners to solve problems.” This conversation happened early in the trip. Uganda has amazing bio-rich resources and wonderful people. They need partnerships to develop what they have. They not only want to solve problems for their people, but to participate in the global economy.

In addition to that experience, we were with the kids, the orphans, teaching them about the nutrients. I had brought 1200 Blue Morpho butterflies, small replicas, to delight the children. The butterflies were easy to include in my luggage. The kids just lit up when they got a butterfly! It was very joyful. And then, when I would begin to leave, the kids would always hug us and say, “I love you”. They would also say, “When you go home, please tell everyone I love them.” They made an extraordinary connection to people everywhere.

And, of course, I met Eveline, a young orphan girl who was very bright and engaging. I asked about continuing school for her and could she go to the university. I found out from Bob, the orphanage director, that it cost $6000, total, to attend the university. I said to him, “That’s doable!” From that point I knew the funds would be there for her to go to college if she chose. And while in Uganda, it was my 62nd birthday. I met Bette, also an orphan since six. She had been trained to be a masseuse and as a gift I was given a massage from Bette. From learning her story and knowing about all the other girls, by then I just knew that I’d send 10 Ugandan girls to college. It was done and complete in my heart. It was another big “Yes!”

3. What’s the most daunting hurdle you’ve had to conquer to get The Butterfly Project going or keep it going?

At some point, transformational vision has to move back into the realm of reasonable. It was about four of five weeks after I returned before I had the name, The Butterfly Project. In that transformational arena, connections and solutions come magically, but I had to go back and forth between practical actions and transformational connections. The story made the connections. The biggest hurdle was turning my vision into a non-profit organization, in addition to running my regular business! It is an arduous process. Three main things are needed to establish a non-profit that involves another country: it has to be a legal non profit; there have to be people on the ground in Uganda to make it happen; and there has to be a fundraising division. I partnered with Global Partners for Development to establish the non profit status and I’ve been learning what it takes to bring The Butterfly Project into a mature, sustainable program that works.

4. What keeps your commitment going?

The fact that the decision came from my heart, from that sense of spirit within me. It actually feels sacred, like a covenant. With that it takes the will to get it going and the passion for it and then the results. There are policies to develop, strategic plans to be made and funds to be raised. Whenever I do a presentation, the magic of the story re-ignites my commitment. More stories will develop as the girls attend the universities and have opportunities in their lives that will benefit their villages and the world. This keeps the juice and joy going; people’s lives being changed and saying “yes”.

5. Do you have a specific joyous result or incident that has come from The Butterfly Project?

My vision and prayer for what would happen in my 60’s is happening. My life opened and I have new amazing people in my life. On a personal level, this is a very powerful result. And my heart leaps for joy for Evaline! For her progress in school and knowing she will be able to go to university if she chooses. I’ve seen friends’ lives open from the story and this has allowed them to say yes to transformational possibilities in their own lives. These opening often arrive unplanned and they usually are not reasonable. But then to see it in action is joyful, to see the results ripple out to many.

Success from the Heart – Debby Wheeler

I am creating a series of stories that present women who are engaged in business that is truly a work of love; their success comes from their hearts. In Success from the Heart these women are focused on what they love and believe in. Their work comes from serving others and their products/services are intended to benefit others in a joyful, nurturing and inspiring way. With success from the heart, anything else would be unnecessary. I ask a few questions of these women to inquire into what brings them to success from the heart.

Debby Wheeler, Wheeler Pet Sitting

I met Debby just about 2 months ago at a Chamber of Commerce networking luncheon. My first impression was how nicely dressed she was; I admired her shawl of golden and green colors and noticed it matched the green of her eyes. I figured she was about my age, and she is, 55 years old; about to turn 56 in August…just like me!
Amidst the lively conversation around the table I caught some info about how she had held an executive position in a large corporation for many years. She was able to retire and from there she started her business, Wheeler Pet Sitting in the Napa Valley. She and her husband have opened their home to bring in dogs while owners are out of town or on a daily basis while they are at work. The Wheelers have three dogs of their own and have had as many as twelve dogs at home at one time! Twelve dogs! As she described her business and principles of dog-sitting she mentioned a photo she has of her husband and four dogs strewn over their bed. When Debby takes care of other people’s dogs, she insists that the dogs stay in the house with them. At Wheeler Pet Sitting there are no cages or kennels. This is a “home away from home” for dogs. Continue reading

Success from the Heart – Isabelle Saint-Guily, Napa Valley Acupuncture

I find it inspiring to learn about how one chooses a profession that brings joy and gratitude to their clients or customers, and to themselves. Many women are coming to full bloom in their 50’s and this is wonderful to behold. In our 21st century the 50+ woman is vibrant, charismatic and has the confidence and wisdom to proceed with projects she knows are important; that bring joy to her heart as well as others. Our evolution has accelerated in just my own lifetime. Not many years ago a woman over 50 was ignored, even considered “washed up” as in the movie, “Sunset Boulevard” from 1950. Gloria Swanson plays the tragic figure of Norma Desmond, a “has-been” movie star, and it is mentioned that she is just 50 years old! “Phooey!” I say! Recently Isabelle and I got together to discuss why and how she embarked on her journey from massage therapy to Chinese Medicine. I first met Isabelle in a business networking group in 2003. I watched her business grow from a massage table in a spare room in her home, to an office with two treatment rooms in a business complex in Napa, CA. For me, Isabelle’s journey to her success in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine exemplifies a woman whose work and success are from her heart. Now, at 50 years old, Isabelle is thriving in business and her life. Her vocation brings health and joy to her patients; including me!

Some questions I asked Isabelle:

Q: How old were you when you began to build the business you have today? Was it a straight journey or did you begin with something else that twisted and turned and evolved into what your business is today?

A: In my twenties I was divorced and my kids were just two and four years old. I needed to become self-sufficient and I had very little experience. At the time there seemed to be just two industries in the Napa Valley that were feasible for me; wine and spas. I chose the spa industry because my ex-husband was in the wine industry and I didn’t want to be running into him! With massage I could work weekends and from my home. My passion for massage therapy developed right away. I found I had a natural intuition to feel what people needed. I was giving my teacher a massage and I intuitively moved to massage her head. She was impressed because we had not started instruction about the head yet, so this really acknowledged my intuition for working on what is needed. I then became trained in Chi Nei Tsang, a massage therapy that focuses on the abdominal area, a part of Chinese Medicine. This ignited my passion for Chinese Medicine and I began my education to achieve my license. In California you must be trained in both Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to obtain your license.

Q: How did you recognize what was in your heart to do?

A: Giving massage is very centering, calming and opens the door to intuition; this is what brings me joy as well as to the person receiving the massage. As it led me toward Acupuncture I was fulfilling my intuition and passion for intellectual theory and methods – science. I love the philosophy of Tao; the harmony with nature, as if I was born to be Tao.

Q: Did you ever or how often did you think you were wasting your time or that it was a foolish venture? How did you overcome your doubts?

A: With the acupuncture I never felt any doubt. But in the beginning with school, the kids and working it was very difficult to manage everything. The financial aspects were intense too. Some say you keep your eye on the big picture; but this was not how I persevered. If I looked at the huge mountain of my commitment and project I would be overwhelmed! I had to look at just each month at a time. One month closer to my accomplishment. I stayed in touch with the beauty of how organic Chinese Medicine is. It is pure nature and science.

Q: In the book, Success Built to Last, Stewart Emery emphasizes having a “disciplined practice” to keep on track; ways to measure how you’re accomplishing what you’ve set out to do. Do you have a disciplined practice or two, or more; and what is it?
A: I’m very happy with my QuickBooks program. It allows me to make monthly income comparisons with what I did last year, and even over the last five years. I can compare revenue and expenses and I can see that in June my income is always lower so that I can forecast for that. I can see that the acupuncture facials are profitable; they provide a very effective alternative to cosmetic surgery and the QuickBooks analysis shows me where I can develop more revenue. This year I am focusing on oncology, the benefits of acupuncture in treating cancer patients; helping to relieve their discomfort during cancer treatment. This is a calling for me and I’m happy to work more to increase my revenue.

I also use the Franklin Covey planner and time management system. It has been great in keeping me on track with my goals.

Q: How does your business reflect your passion?

A: My office is in a small complex on the quieter side of town. I chose not to be in the hub of the medical/professional offices because that part of town is so crowded with traffic and shopping areas. This way people, including me, are not all stressed out just getting to my office! People say that my office and treatment rooms have a very calming atmosphere. I have photos I have taken of nature and music that is soothing. All of this reflects my passion for the harmony of nature and well-being.

Q: What’s so great about being 50+ years old?

A: Being 50 doesn’t seem any different to me…except my hair! (now an adorable short gray hairstyle). Becoming 50 you gain respect and acknowledgment for who you are and what you are doing. I believe that age doesn’t matter. You know, the Native Americans never paid attention to age, they didn’t know how old they were; but they look to the elders for wisdom.

Q: What does success mean to you?

A: Just being happy and fulfilled; wanting to go to work!

Success from the Heart

There’s a majestic redwood tree at the end of my backyard. In the morning, when I sit on our deck steps, way across from it and look up to see the top of the tree, I swear there’s actually a physical connection. I lift my head to focus in on the top branches and when I take in the forest green against the sky blue my body takes in a deep breath. It seems to be a natural reaction: inhale…exhale..ahh.

This is why I work from home. I haven’t achieved financial success yet, but I’m living physical and emotional success and I don’t want to give that up. Everyday is different. This morning, around 6:00am, when I opened my eyes my mind said clearly, “So, what will today bring?”

I don’t get bored. No, I left boredom on the desk of my former corporate cubicle years ago. Didn’t pack that up with my photos and favorite pens. In contrast my work is usually deep in my laptop somewhere; researching, writing, digging through the world wide web. I have to consciously pull myself away and rest my eyes on something “real”. Here at home I can walk outside and grab a cat, prune a rose or just stare at the redwood tree.

But…”show me the money!” I’m really not inclined to become a recluse and I’m not independently wealthy, so money must be made. I’m determined to make this work….this, work. I’m coming to terms with the sort of creature I am and it’s not easy for me to step up and out. I’m working on getting, visualizing, a bigger picture, a broader realm of work, home and abundance.

“Success from the heart”; that’s what I call it. I’ll be interviewing great women I know, and want to know, that are 50+ years old and have achieved the obvious, conventional terms of success in their business. But a beautiful secret to reveal is that their success comes from their hearts; not solely their bank accounts. Stay tuned for more! And tell your friends! =)

P.S. I wrote this sitting on those back steps with cats frolicking and birds chirping…isn’t that just the best?!

Zawadi African Tea

Sometimes shopping for Fair Trade items takes more time and effort. But there is way more satisfaction in knowing that your dollars are making a difference worldwide. Our dollars can be a gift – a gift with purchase! There’s something for everyone. I am so glad to have discovered this tea and its founder, Robert Kihanya. Please read on to learn more about this great venture, Zawadi African Tea.

Shortly after my return from East Africa, in 2006, I was doing my usual grocery shopping at Vallergas, a locally owned store in Napa. I was browsing the tea isle with my new awareness of Fair Trade products. In Kenya our group visited the Kimlea School for Girls and I had met these smart, clever, industrious girls and learned that most of their families made a living from picking tea in the Kenya plantations for $3.00 a day. A day.Now, back home in my cool, abundant American grocery store, I looked over all the beautifully colored packages of tea from all over the world. I narrowed my search for Kenya tea, and Fair Trade. On the bottom shelf there was a simple brown box with a black tea leaf and hand logo; Zawadi African Tea. I picked it up and sniffed through the cellophane wrap.
In my mind I was instantly transported back to Kenya – flashes of the dirt roads, the bright cloth, simmering stews, leather and beaded belts, and the wide, wide sky. “Wow!” I thought. “Who makes this? How come it’s so much like Kenya?” On the box I read: Zawadi means Gift in the Swahili language. The box told short stories of “Kenya family farmers” and “The Zawadi Gift” of giving a portion of the proceeds as a donation to the Kenya AIDS Intervention/Prevention Project Group, KAIPPG.org.
I had to know more and researched the company’s website, http://www.zawadiafricantea.com I was delighted to discover that the founder and his company were right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I wanted to know more about this project and I knew I wanted to contribute to it somehow. Longer story shorter…I am now working with Robert Kihanya and Zawadi African Tea as an Account Manager for Sales and Distribution. Who knew?!

When and why did you create the project of Zawadi African Tea?
I came from Kenya in the mid-1980’s and went to college in Texas. In the summer of 2002, I was visiting Kenya and I saw a lot of kids without a place to stay, orphaned by the AIDs virus. When I got back to the United States I wanted to create something to help. I wanted to create a project where people could buy a product that is essential to them and the proceeds would give back to the community. In Kenya I met a lot of members of the Kamuchege tea co-op. Kamuchege is the village in Kenya where I grew up. They asked for my help to look for a market for their product. Their problem is there are a lot of agents to buy the tea but the system is divided up among so many “hands” that it reduces their profit.

Is it a non-profit project? How is it funded?
Not a non-profit, but part of the proceeds go to the Kenya Aids Intervention/Prevention Project Group (Kaippg.org) to help the orphans. Janet Feldman, Director and Founder of the organization reports to me on what the money is used for; for example, blankets for the children. Zawadi African Tea is a licensed, sole proprietorship and I am the President and Founder. In the beginning I funded the company with a loan from my 401k plan. This went to purchase the tea, shipping and to hire people in Kenya to get the product here. I also needed to fund the website design, packaging and marketing. My former girlfriend worked with me on the marketing and distribution. Now it is myself and two distributors. I also had help from friends and an intern from Golden Gate University majoring in Computer Science and Website Design. By the beginning of 2003 we had the samples and started marketing to stores and restaurants. Our first sale was in June of 2003 to Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco. They are still a steady customer for us.

What is your vision for the Zawadi African Tea business?
The entire project, Zawadi African Tea includes other items such as gift baskets with African art objects. The vision is to promote African products worldwide and for the business to grow and become self-sustaining. My goal is to quit my job and work this full-time, with staffing and partners and that it provides an efficient, sustainable source for the children in Kenya. I envision an annual income that would cover all the expenses and sustain substantial growth. The vision goes beyond the tea. It is to promote all kinds of African products, Fair Trade and organic products to support small farmers and artisans. And I have a vision for a future Zawadi African Tea Shop!

What are your biggest challenges in keeping the project going?
Advertising and sharing the products and getting customers. Tea has become a very competitive product on the shelf; it’s a challenge to stand out. We need to do demonstrations and tell the story. I look for committed partners to run with the project; people who have a passion for the story and the purpose and not just the tea. People who are supporting the project are consumers of Zawadi African Tea as well as well as business partners; not just looking for a job but enrolled in all aspects of the project.

What would be the best support, right away, that someone could do for Zawadi African Tea?
Buy the tea, drink the tea, learn about the story and then contact a store manager and ask them to stock Zawadi African Tea. Be an advocate for the whole project of Zawadi African Tea and Fair Trade and share this with their friends and community. If there is a store or retail outlet that someone has in mind, they can contact us by email: Robert Kihanya, Robert@zawadiafricantea.com; Arvis Northrop, arvis@ecotravelconnections.com