Inspiring Nuggets

From Annelies & Conduit for Change, LLC

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Annelies M. Gentile, MA, PCC

Integrative Life & Leadership Coach | Author | Speaker | Consultant | Facilitator | Process Artist

Hello Dear Ones,

Since last we connected... I've coached heart-centered executives to take brave bold action, helped non-profit leaders stay in integrity, nurtured professionals facing unfathomable change, presented on radical resilience, creativity for coping, soul searching for a fruitful job search, published my From Chaos to Calm audiobook, completed the 7th successful year of Art in the Garden while celebrating 13 years with my beloved, and 13 years in business as a professional coach!

I also helped my niece, nephew and mother as often as possible for online school (oyie!), walked mindfully along nature trails searching for wild edible mushrooms (lion's mane beard below), watched the Geminid meteor shower, paddleboarded until it was too cold, imagined and prepared for life after covid, cried a few more times over friends who've lost loved ones due to covid and sold a few more Artful Facemasks. Want any? I've too many left.

In a nutshell, Q-4 has been a bit more quiet than the rest of the year. As the dark and cold of winter descends, the whole impact of this wild year settles around me like wet dust. I'm sitting with all this change. I did a whole lot of fussing and fixing with creative intensity from Jan. till about Oct. I saw the virus coming and had masks ready to go by Feb. I was prepared when others were stunned.

Change can stun the senses, paralyze the mind, halt any action that could allow buoyancy. I won't lie, I'm tired and I miss our house concerts, potlucks and garden parties. I miss facilitating beach retreats and bear hugging my clients and friends. I know you do too. You are not alone in missing "normal".

One day... we'll look back upon this time and say, "Remember the pandemic? We lived through a pandemic!! Crazy." And some will say... "Ahh, those were the good 'ol days. Online school and zoom meetings sans pants." While others will say... "Such challenging times, yet we found a way." One day... this will all be behind us. Time will mosey on and hopefully we will find a way to be better through it.

What did you reveal to yourself and the world during this past year? Keep reading for more thoughtful reflections from an ontological perspective.

Life is change! How is CHANGE showing up for you? I want to know! Email or call me. Let me know what's changing in your world.

Let's explore the unexpected...
I listen between the lines, calling out where you may be limited or right on the edge of genius to help you improve confidence, clarity, and to reframe your mindset. I'm the co-pilot you want for that transformative "compassionate poke with a sharp stick" you didn't know you needed!

In a nutshell, I say... professionals are people too. I'd love to help you, find you. Let's journey together, shall we?


Five times a year, I provide inspiring nuggets of wisdom through my newsletter which includes invitations to upcoming events. My goal is to help YOU better cope and create through change. Seasonal teachings come through both my personal and professional experiences and the Chinese Five Elements philosophy of Wu Xing (wŭ ching) and Tao, among other philosophies and sciences which highlight and explore unique nature-based ontological ways to understand the processes of change.

Each newsletter aims to help you create a mindful mindset and provide resources to build resiliency in the face of personal, professional and cultural change. Find this newsletter useful? Be the gift that keeps giving, share it with a friend! Want to hear more? Invite me to speak at your next conference, place of business, networking or civic groups. Enjoy!

WINTER :: The Vulnerability Teacher

Nature provides a unique lens in which to see ourselves and the situation around us. Here we can discover inspiring perspectives, useful solutions, and new patterns that may reveal our next step. According to Eastern traditions of Tao, there are 5 seasons, each represented by an element, color and emotional characteristics. Here's a simplified explanation.

  • Winter : Water : Blue : Stillness : Fear : Hidden Potential
  • Spring : Wood : Green : Creativity : Anger : Growth
  • Summer : Fire : Red : Connectivity : Joy : Authenticity
  • Late Summer : Earth : Yellow : Integrity : Sympathy : Transformation
  • Autumn : Metal : White : Acknowledgement : Grief : Letting Go

Winter is related to the WATER element which represents our emotion of fear and informs a sense of power, hidden potential, courage, stillness or mindful movement and wisdom. Through the season of winter and element of water we are reminded to be with the unknown, essentially... to embrace vulnerability.

Most cultures discourage showing weakness. It may be risky to self and others to be soft or emotional. Vulnerability is not traditionally acceptable as a strength, and yet... vulnerability can be quite strength-building. The resources developed under duress are key to evolution and survival.

Today, covid is our great teacher of vulnerability. It's our metaphorical season of winter, teaching us to sit with the unknown, to have courage and stillness, to be with the dark.

“In wintertime,
all life is on that knife edge between life and death,” said Dr. Kimmerer, the director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. “Winter is a teacher of vulnerability.” NYT How We Survive Winter

When we face the unknown head-on, we're looking directly into the face of fear itself. This is not a bad thing! Getting comfortable with ambiguity can be freeing-- once we get past the initial anxiety. Doing so changes our relationship to fear making us more available to access creative ideas, innovation and resilience. I encourage presence at this time. Do you?

Client Story...

"Deliah" spent most of her life fearing vulnerability. She kept a tight lid on feelings. Very few even in her close circle of friends or co-workers knew how sensitive she was inside. Upfront she was cool and collected. People came to her for leadership and problem solving.

Behind the scenes though, she was really hurting. She ate and drank her feelings while her personal life was void of true closeness and a true expression of her beauty. Burn-out and breakdown was lurking close.

Covid plus coaching changed something for her. Deliah found her power and her voice to be strong for herself. She discovered her hidden potential, her season of winter. Alone with her feelings, she learned she was stronger than she allowed herself to be and said it "could have been a very different story without coaching".

On micro and macro scales, covid has been a personal teacher of "darkness" for each of us and will remain one of our great catalysts of wisdom for generations to come. Covid is our "dark winter". The light will return again. There will be a "Remember when..." moment.

Speaking of light, I write you on the eve of Dec 21, the darkest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and a super special celestial event! The Great Conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars will closely align. It's not happened at night in 800 years! Also named the "Christmas Star", it should be visible 45 min after sunset.

On final note.... What's your word for 2021?

Mine is "Shwiiing!" To me, it means to stay on the ball, be ready to strike when the iron is hot. I see 2021 as being a great year for forming and shaping, building upon what I've built so lovingly with focus and dedication.

No matter how you spend the next few days of Dec, stay safe and stay well, please. Happy holidays and a very beautiful start to a new year!

love and light, Annelies :)

PS... Read on for an end of year Reflection Gift!

RESILIENCE Course Online!

What if you could measure and predict stress? What would change? Take this life-changing 5-week self-directed course based on my book From Chaos to Calm!

From the coaching desk to boardrooms, classrooms, conferences coast to coast from art galleries to gardens— people come to me to explore their edge. Together we stir the soul and poke the mind, bridging what was to what's next. I am deeply honored to hold sacred space for transformation to occur, and am grateful if/when you choose me as your co-pilot.

Take a moment to slow down and ask... "What is my next RIGHT STEP?" You don't have to do everything, just the next right one. Sometimes that's really small, like stepping away from the computer or getting a glass of water. Sometimes it's saying NO to one more thing. Sometimes it's saying YES to your particular needs. Sometimes its saying YES to something bigger than you.

Time to Reflect

Remember you're a human being, not a human doing. Step back from the doing to just BE. Pause to notice the small shifts in and around you. Explore the season of winter, its element of water and emotion of fear through these inquiries.

  • What's my next right step, just for today?
  • What makes me feel courageous?
  • Where and how do I give my power away?


Love a little end of year exploration? Snuggle up with a cup of tea and REFLECT 2020/2021. Want to explore deeper? Coaching consults are FREE! You're welcome! :)

Contact Annelies

Inspiring, informative and transformational experiences for you, your company and community. Conduit for Change, LLC
From Chaos to Calm

Click here to go to Amazon and buy your copy of From Chaos to Calm :: Leading Change From the Inside Out. It's on KINDLE and audiobook too!