A Challenge to Help Make it Through Challenging Times

Yoga and Life

As often happens in life, one step leads to another, to another and then to another and, before you know it, in looking back it’s hard to see where it all started. We’ve all witnessed tumultuous change in our country’s politics over the last couple of years and I have to say my personal life has paralleled it. But I’d also hazard to guess that, at least to some degree, yours has too. The heavens seem to be demanding it (for more on this you might appreciate reading my article Astrology & Tapping? which I wrote as an introduction to both astrology and tapping (EFT) and to illustrate how energy affects us from the macro to the micro).

In early 2015, after going through a very difficult time grieving the loss of a friend and feeling very stuck and unhappy in my life, I discovered and immersed myself into the practice and mastery of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), something that is right up my alley in terms of interest, background and skills. And somewhere in the midst of my emotional processing and releasing I was guided to become trained and certified first as a DreamBuilder® life coach and then as a Life Mastery Consultant through the Life Mastery Institute.

Meanwhile, last year, between those certifications, I was shocked to find out that one of my brothers was in a very life threatening situation with his alcoholism. For whatever reason, I was the last one in my family to find out and I was shocked, hurt, angry, afraid, and incredibly sad. It was as if the rug had been pulled out from under me. I’d seen the signs before and even addressed it with him but was still shocked to find that his condition had become that dire. I’d lost another of my brothers in an accident in 1987, 30 years ago this year, and there was no way I could let myself go through the pain of that type of loss again without knowing I’d done everything I could to prevent it.

Life is Precious

It may be that it’s not until someone dear to you dies before you realize just how precious life and relationships really are. Loss, especially when sudden and unexpected, is very difficult emotional terrain to work through. I am incredibly grateful that there was, and has always been, love and respect between my brother and all of us in my family. When I notice people harboring anger or resentment towards another for any extended period of time, especially someone in their family, I always want to say to them, “That person could die tomorrow. Do you really want them gone, with no chance for resolution in flesh and blood, and you left with this negative energy about you? Is there not anything about them that could help you return to a space of love or acceptance?”

Please keep in mind that we are all doing the best we can, from where we are, with what we have. And for some of us that may not be much. A Course in Miracles says that “every act is either an act of love or a cry for love.” That’s a statement that we all would benefit from pondering.

If you get nothing else out of reading this article, I hope you will at least get this: Don’t let resentment, anger, or any other negative emotion poison your life. There are constructive ways (EFT is one of them) to honor these emotions and be set free of them. When someone dies they’re no longer subject to their emotions here on this physical plane where you and the rest of us are all experiencing ours. Look towards compassion and forgiveness to heal your wounds now while that person is still alive if at all possible. Actively seek it. And the sooner the better. You are the one who will benefit. For your sake, my friend, don’t let anything keep love from flowing in your life. And remember this, bitterness and resentment poison the one harboring them.

Lessons Learned from the Past

As I mentioned above, 2017 marks 30 years since my brother Lee’s death, drowning in an accident off the coast of Alaska. It was a tragedy that should never have happened. You can read a short version of the story here and if you do you’ll probably understand why we were not told the full truth. Instead we were led to believe that he, in essence, committed suicide, which left us utterly bewildered. It simply made no sense. A few months after his death my sister-in-law’s family, living in Monterrey, California, learned through the grapevine in the commercial fishing community there what really happened. Though grateful to have the confusion removed, we were then left with not only the loss but a whole new slew of other emotions to deal with, none of them easy.

This picture is an unintended double exposure of Lee (taken back in the days of 35 millimeter film) that came as a surprise in a package of prints from a developed roll of film just 2-3 years before his death. Sometimes Spirit works in interesting ways. I felt compelled to share it.

I am an empath and I feel not only my own but other’s emotions and energetic state as well. It was hard enough for me to be dealing with my own pain and the thought of going home and having to experience everyone else’s as well was almost more than I could bear. Perhaps you can relate. But somehow, I and the rest of us all managed to make it through those admittedly very dark and difficult times.

And now my family is dealing with a different type of killer, alcoholism. My brother is not easy to deal with when there’s alcohol in his system. He doesn’t see it or fully appreciate what his family goes through, of course, as he’s on the inside looking out. But at the same time I know that underlying his addiction lies depression, anger, fear, frustration, and a sense of hopelessness. Having experienced to some degree all of those emotions myself, it pains me knowing how much worse off he is. It is his journey and there’s only so much any of us can do besides making sure he knows we love the him that’s deep inside, standing firm with proper boundaries, and holding true to a vision of him healthy and happy. He, his wife and daughters, and all the rest of us are learning, growing and evolving by means of his affliction. I have come to know that, while it’s hard to see it at the time, the curse is really a gift in disguise for all of us.

Why am I sharing all of this?

I promise you that it’s not just so that I can unload. I’m really sharing it because I know that alcoholism, addictions, depression, etc., affect, whether directly or indirectly, virtually everyone in this country. Alcohol is legal and drinking is expected in social situations, despite the fact that it is entirely toxic for and destroys the body. We are creatures of habit. We establish patterns of behaviors and without realizing it dig ourselves deeper and deeper into a state of dis-ease. My brother’s amount of consumption started as simply a moderate amount occasionally and then became daily and, when his ability to handle the mounting stresses of life got worse (a result of his drinking perhaps?), escalated rapidly to large amounts daily, eventually spiraling out of his control.

For my brother’s affliction, the world points their fingers at either alcohol or his “weakness” as the culprit. I point my finger at his belief that he had no choice or power in his life, in essence that he was a victim of circumstances, and that alcohol became his escape mechanism. We all have escape mechanisms. Mine is doing puzzles. What’s yours?

Whether you have an escape mechanism or not, all of us fall into habitual patterns of thoughts and behaviors, many of which are unhealthy. When we follow the same patterns and do the same things day after day after day, often out of a sense of responsibility or obligation, our life becomes a broken record and we go numb. We lose sight of a hopeful future and cut ourselves off from the very thing that can turn our life around and bring us joy. It’s happened to me more than once and I’ll bet you’ve had times like that as well. Now might just be one of them.

We always have a choice. We can choose to continue to suffer with the status quo or we can choose to honor our personal needs and desires and take the bold and brave action required to instigate change. But let me tell you, well established habits are not so easy to change. Sticking to your decision when others disagree or try to convince you to do otherwise is not easy. Breaking free of the belief structures, paradigms and negative voices in your own head — the very things that are responsible for your life being what it is now — without a support structure in place is virtually impossible.

What do you need to change in your life? Where are you dissatisfied with life? How are you discontent and suffering? We all have some sort of challenge in our life. It might be your health, relationships, job, a lack of free time, etc. I guarantee you, there’s something that you’re no longer comfortable with. How do I know? Because, like everyone else, you’re a human being. Our challenges are requisite for personal and spiritual growth which is the whole reason we’re here living life on planet Earth.

There’s a lot that goes into creating positive lasting change. We need to be decided and willing to change. We need new healthy habits to replace the old ones with. We need support. Are you beginning to catch the drift as to why I’m sharing all of this with you?

Announcing BeneFIT’s

I have been envisioning and even talking about this challenge since the end of last year and, while delayed several times, it’s been morphing all along, as if in a cocoon state. But finally it’s ready to break free of the cocoon and fly! Beware though, this challenge goes well beyond any I’ve hosted or participated in before. I’ve designed it to really bring home awareness of all it takes to create a healthy body, healthy mind, and a truly happy life.

Along with the physical practice of the yoga, this challenge will be providing you with lots of food for thought and I hope you’ll approach all of it with an open mind, a beginner’s mindset, and see what gems you get out of it. Having been raised by an atheist, I’m not about to say you have to agree with any of it or me but I do believe it will be well worth your while to explore the subject matters presented. Feel free to take what works for you and leave the rest behind.

Now having said that, please know that I’m not going to be the source of every bit of information provided. I’m bringing in experts in various fields to share their knowledge and expertise and perhaps help you get to the root cause and find the solution(s) to the issues that have been plaguing you.

And remember, to create a truly happy life you’ve got to look at the whole picture and understand how everything works together — body, mind, spirit.

The roots of yoga challenges go back to Bikram who challenged one and all to do his yoga every day for 60 days and he promised a new body, new mind and a new life as a result. Do you think it’s impossible to do 60 classes in 60 days? How many other things in your life do you think are impossible? Do you want your life to change or are you good with the status quo?

I know it’s like we’re playing 20 questions here but I believe it’s time for us all to wake up to our present reality. How’s your life working for you? If it were to continue along the same course that it’s been on how would you feel about yourself five years from now? If you’re happy, great! But if not, well, guess what? Nothing’s going to change without you first taking action and overcoming a challenge.

So why not take one on intentionally and see what the process does for you? There’s a lot of good stuff for you with this one. If the holidays are typically troublesome for you, we’ll get you through Halloween and Thanksgiving and have some powerfully positive habits instilled to help you make your way through the rest. I expect also that you will have learned enough about your body’s needs and understand your role in getting and keeping it truly healthy that you’ll be invested enough in that effort to not fall back into old patterns.

Remember, this is more than just sweating in the hot room every day for 60 days, this is you taking an honest stock of your life and making changes for the better. Don’t worry if you can’t do all the yoga. You’ll do as much yoga as you can (especially if your challenge has to do with your body’s overall health) and take advantage of everything else.

So, here it is, my friend. I sincerely hope you’ll participate. Please keep reading on below and you’ll understand why.

Benefitting Colin’s Hope

This challenge is a fundraiser for Colin’s Hope. Why Colin’s Hope? Life can be tough; let there be no doubt about it. I can’t say for sure but I would imagine that there is likely no stronger sense of grief or loss than that of parent who’s lost a child. Colin’s Hope is a local non-profit organization that was founded by the parents of Colin who, at four years old, the day after completing swimming lessons, drowned unnoticed, surrounded by the commotion of adults and children in the shallow waters of a public swimming pool. Making sense of the grief and the gamut of other emotions such an occurrence creates is incredibly challenging. Under such circumstances, we can’t help but search for purpose from the tragedy. My heart goes out to everyone who’s ever suffered through such a loss and I commend Colin’s parents, Jeff and Jana Holst, for their commitment to doing what they can to prevent others from going through the same despair.

Much of my tithing dollars this year have gone to Colin’s Hope in memory of my brother and I am proud that BeneFIT is a sponsor of the new Life Jacket Loaner Station in Lakeway City Park. But I have a larger goal of raising $20,000 to not only provide life jackets but also swimming lessons to under privileged children who would otherwise do without. I’d love it if you’d join me in this effort. The $25 that you’ll donate to Colin’s Hope to participate in the challenge covers the cost of two life jackets. $75 covers the cost of swimming lessons for a child.

Colin loved life. He frequently said, “It was the BEST DAY EVER!” Well, my friend, I challenge you to create not just the best day ever but your Best Life Ever. Even though you fully deserve it, it won’t happen without your desire, commitment, and effort, I promise. And I also promise that this challenge can be the game changer you’ve been looking for that will set your life on a whole new trajectory.

Our sponsors and I will be addressing the key aspects of BODY, MIND and SPIRIT to help you fully understand what makes for a healthy body, a healthy mind, and a truly happy life as we each share from own unique area of study.


BeneFIT member AmyBeth Hopkins, health scientist and physical therapist, will share with you the full spectrum of services that she and her husband, Dr. Alan Hopkins, offer through their business Health & Bliss for Life early on in the challenge so that you can get before and after lab results and learn about anti-aging medicine. She’ll also do a talk on nutrition so that you’ll be empowered with knowledge and recipes to get your diet on track towards true health.

I, Nora Jeanne Welsh, will do talks and presentations on our bodies’ most basic needs, hydration and electrolytes, and demonstrate the power of Kangen Water® so you’ll understand that not all water is good for you, the damaging effects of other beverages we drink, and get the foundation in place that can catapult your body’s and brain’s health breakthrough.

Sean Thompson of LIQUID Float Spa will introduce the many ways floating in a sensory deprivation tank can heal the body, the brain and help us break through our barriers to true body-mind-spirit alignment.

I’ll lead a workshop to introduce EFT (aka Tapping) and help you tangibly feel for yourself the connection between the thoughts you’re thinking and your emotional state and have a tool that can help you shift from suffering back into ease and flow in just minutes.

Susan Phariss, Neurodevelopment Consultant, Engineer, and Author of Have a Ball Learning, of Brain Fitness Strategies will do a presentation to demonstrate that overcoming dyslexia, other learning disabilities, and behavioral issues, regardless of cause or age, is not just possible but can be FUN!

Lane Wilson, the author of People’s Anonymous will share with you the power of the 12 step process (previously sequestered to just those like my brother who are blessed with addiction) and wisdom from A Course in Miracles that he’s woven throughout his book.

BeneFIT’s teacher Jim Holzknecht will share from his new book Midlife PLAY BOOK — about to be released — some of the exercises to bring FUN back into your life. In case you don’t know it, Spirit loves FUN and lighthearted, playful energy. That’s what Spirit’s all about and we all need more of that in our life!

I will also be leading Vision Workshops and weaving in the foundational teachings underlying Bikram Yoga and the symbolism and stories in the Mahabharata, the source of the Bhagavad Gita, India’s most highly revered spiritual literature, in articles and emails to inspire and help you become aligned with a life you’d absolutely love living. It all begins with VISION. What’s yours?

And last but not least, Divyathrayam School of Dance will do a Sakhyam dance performance enacting stories from the Mahabharata.

Each of these presentations will be held in BeneFIT’s newly revamped lobby so space will be limited. Be sure to get yourself signed up for them as soon as the schedule is determined so you won’t miss out. We’ll provide the information and links to sign up as soon as everything is set.


And to add another reason to get involved and take advantage of every aspect of BeneFIT’s Best Life Ever 60 Day Challenge, we’re introducing another element of FUN — BINGO! I’ve created a 7 x 7 BINGO board with 49 slots of activities for you to do and 7 possible prizes. And YES, you can win all of them with a black out!

Everything starts on the 15th so make your $25 donation to Colin’s Hope and get signed up at the studio. Information will be distributed via email so you’ll need to provide us with yours to ensure you don’t miss out on any of it!


We want everyone to be able to participate in the challenge and that includes mothers. And we are very happy to announce that, with our newly revamped lobby and our cabinets that now serve as movable walls, we can now cordon off particular areas in the lobby and are now offering babysitting during the morning classes. We have a team of babysitters and all ages are welcome, including your babies! You can get the details here: Babysitting @ BeneFIT!

Nora Jeanne’s & BeneFIT’s Next Steps

As you can see, this is not an ordinary challenge. I am pulling together what I know to be the key elements to true health and well-being and handing them all to you as a sampling in this challenge so that your beliefs and world can open to new possibilities and you can begin creating your Best Life Ever. I am putting my heart and soul into the 60 days of this challenge as it is, in essence, my swan song as I will be completing my transition from life as I currently know it.

It is time for me to hand over the responsibilities that come with running the day to day operations of this location so that I can free up my resources to take my next steps professionally. This doesn’t mean I’m moving away and will be gone for good. I will still be around and teaching yoga but I will be directing my energies towards coaching, developing my own online teleclasses and courses in Tapping, meditation and more, leading workshops, retreats and spiritual adventures to distant lands, and writing! These are the things that I love to do but simply haven’t had the time, energy and other resources to be able to pursue fully. I hope you know that my heart and soul are deeply embedded in BeneFIT, and your and everyone else’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. In order to continue to grow there comes a point when we have to let go of what is so that both we and it can be like butterflies breaking free of the cocoon.

I will be selling BeneFIT’s Lakeway location and am looking for the right person or persons to take over the helm. I am being very particular as to whom I hand over the reins as it is important to me that they appreciate and honor the spirit of BeneFIT’s mission to educate, inspire and support people to create a healthy body, healthy mind, and truly happy life that they absolutely love living.

Please understand that the BeneFIT community has been my baby for almost 7 years so this has not been an easy, smooth sailing transition for me. I have been like Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita for quite some time now. If you know me, you know I’ll share stories of this transition I’ve gone through. It’s been the perfect example of the struggles that life presents as we are called to take our next steps and fulfill our life’s purpose. There will come a time, whether by choice or being forced to through a natural or other disaster, when you too will need to let go of something dear to you in order to make possible the next iteration for both yourself and it. And while you can’t be sure exactly how everything will pan out, you get to choose whether you let faith or fear be the driver of your chariot. More on that later!

I hope you’ll be joining me for the challenge. Think of it as my gift to you and know that I am holding true to the vision of you happy, healthy and living your Best Life Ever!


Nora Jeanne

p.s. Whether you participate in the challenge or not, please make a donation to Colin’s Hope and know that by giving you initiate the cycle that welcomes receiving.