Inspiring Nuggets

From Annelies & Conduit for Change, LLC

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Inspiring Nuggets Spring 2022 VIDEO

Annelies M. Gentile, MA, PCC

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

When I was young, my parents watched the news with ritual. Early mornings and after dinner a gentle dose of local news told us the whatnots of mostly near and a little of far.

Weekends were special with the arrival of the Sunday paper. The ritual included a loungey pj morning with bagels, lox, scrambled eggs and hurray! The comics. My sister and I took turns reading full color print cartoons. The pages smelled like Sunday and dyed our fingertips a slight purple. It was a great day when the big paper came. To my 10 year old self, the news brought joy and togetherness.

Today it's the New York Times on my phone read solo on the couch. I flip through a host of other "in-take" resources facilitating a perpetual connection to nothingness. I used to be flabbergasted by each new headline. I think sometimes now, I'm numb.

I take media breaks; a morning off, full day, or weekend. Week-long tech-dry vacays are preferred. It's feels so much harder now to unplug. Life proves through that lens that we are in perilous times. Beautiful days and tiny buds help remind us there is more goodness than not.

As someone close to me said, "I don't recognize this world I am in. I don't understand it. I just don't." Although I can deeply empathize, I do understand. We are dismantling.

In crisis, ask, what is the opportunity?

Like a wave, we are collectively positioned slightly past the top of the crest of the wave. The curling arc so near the ragged edge driven by enormous power, bound to lose its shape. It is the way of nature. We are all complexly connected to those same natural systems destined to rise and fall and rise again elsewhere. That is the divine creative process of nature. So absolutely fascinating. In some ways, it's her world and we are just living' in it. Curious free-fall.

The part is hard to comprehend because we don't want to acknowledge our fracturing nor let go of our identity no matter how painful it may be to embrace change.

Who are we without our roles, labels or beliefs? What's left?

I say, creativity resides at the edge of chaos. This is a time of great creativity but first, we must feel. And... the honest truth is not everyone is ready nor willing to go there. Maybe you can relate.

"I'll tell you a secret. I'm afraid of nature right now. Not of bears or tumbles from cliffs, not of windstorms or mountain lions or wildfires scorching trees to matchsticks. I'm afraid of the looming unknown that has nothing to do with the exploration or discovery. I'm afraid of the mess." ~ Sarah Capdeville, Orion

Hello Dear One...

Since last we connected, I've coached executives on mindset, supported entrepreneurs facing transition, presented multiple times on topics from my book ranging from mindfulness in leadership to educating professionals on resilience, creative process and nurturing grief associated with change. I've also enjoyed spring wildflowers, spent time with family and friends as the world continues to open up, shared meals with elder neighbors who need a kind reminder that they still matter, walked in nature, danced like a fool while producing my first online creativity retreat (seriousness need not be joyless), and always looked up for inspiration. Transformative leadership is about presence of being, tending-- in all ways, remembering who you are.

What's life been like for you? If you desire to share, I'm open for listening. In the presence of change, it's okay to feel fragmented and uncertain. You are not alone.

I publish Inspiring Nuggets seasonally, five times a year. My goal is to be as inspirational as possible, to nurture connection and present ideas for perspective. And-- acknowledgement is a part of this path to enlightenment.

Plucking inspiration can be illusive in the shadow of hardship when more than some feel powerless. Reality holds the upper hand.

To be honest, (and honesty is good) I feel we've been traumatized. Traumatized by covid, shutdowns, political discord and now war. I know this is life. I don't like it. I want to change it. I can't anymore than you though. I can only do my part. Be present, teach mindfulness, coach with integrity and create beauty.

What I can do is shine light, be light, tend my own light and encourage others towards their own light and remind you of your light too. And I don't say this... lightly. Because this can be your work too. The good work.

When conditions of change, change you, it's time to notice what you notice. The art of noticing isn't unique to gurus and yogis. It's the learned ability to be present to what is and shift into "gift mindset".

I invite you to acknowledge the inspiring nugget hidden in the dark. Stand in awe and wonder, even when "what is" is awful. The light may be small but it's there. Like a fleck of mica, it's there.

What can you be grateful for?

I don’t have all the answers, just a few unique perspectives, warm heart, kind ear for listening, creative nurturing, and hope for an evolution of spirit and intent where benefits abound for everyone. I sense now is our great time to emerge. A perfect coupling with the teachings of the season of Spring and the Element of Wood. Keep reading to learn more.

What are you noticing?

Over the winter, I found myself in some really tough places and heard in clients too their suffering of similar themes. I was surprised that I could be so fragile even with all my knowledge and skills to cope. Wasn't I past this? Apparently not. You may relate to experiencing repeated past recently. Behavior change occurs in cyclical stages. It's called the Prochaska Change Spiral.

How are you feeling in this season of growth?

More often than not, change develops from an understated, multifaceted, and at times, tortuous progression. This process includes various phases of mental attentiveness such as thinking, pausing, going forward, going backward and sometimes starting all over again!

Notice any repeat patterns?

Life pokes us to be our whole best selves to peek through, peel back or burst away from our yester-selves. Nature reminds us each season to do so. For the sake of goodness, let's explore.

Below is the continuation of Inspiring Nuggets, a seasonal teaching to help you live life more fully. Thank you for your continued reading/listening and sharing.

Love and light, Annelies

Is it time for something different?

Buddhist teachers say "Chop wood, carry water." I say, "Stir soul, poke mind". While life may push and shove you to live life on life's terms, it may be time to include something different. I invite you to explore with me.

Join me for a Mindfulness Moment

Mindfulness Moment Stillness Redefined

Inspiring Nuggets

Five times a year, I publish Inspiring Nuggets Newsletter. 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 ways to understand the processes of change.

Inspiring Nuggets includes invitations to upcoming events, classes, retreats and workshops. 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! LEARN MORE at

WOOD in SPRING : Gift Mindset

  • Spring is nearly here! I do hope wherever you are you're able to enjoy it. Where I live, in Raleigh NC-- animated by bursts of color and small movements in nature let me know spring is emerging a little more each day.

    Bluebirds are flitting, cedar waxwings are arriving and we are grateful for our new roof. It was a really cold winter! Thankfully, daffodils are emerging through cool ground while fallen red camellia blooms decorate my car like its ready for a parade. Earthy smells tell me it's time to emerge.

    What do you notice about spring's emergence this year?

  • Besides sights, sounds and smells, a unique way to experience the season of spring is to explore it via metaphor. According to Eastern traditions there are 5 seasons each represented by an element, a color and a series of emotional characteristics. Here's a simplified explanation.

    • Winter : Water : Blue : Stillness : Fear
    • Spring : Wood : Green : Creativity : Anger
    • Summer : Fire : Red : Connectivity : Joy
    • Late Summer : Earth : Yellow : Integrity : Sympathy
    • Autumn : Metal : White : Acknowledgement : Grief

    Spring is related to the WOOD element which represents the emotion of anger and informs a sense of renewal, forgiveness, vision, organizing, hope and most importantly-- creativity. Through the season of spring, we are invited to think and act in an upward and outward movement. Think: seeds bursting out of hard hull, bulbs piercing cool ground, shoots pushing out dormant branches. When we embrace an upward and outward movement, we are freed from resistance and unnecessary struggle.

    Interestingly, WOOD element in the season of Spring is associated with the emotion of anger. It fits though. It may come as a surprise to note that sometimes we need an emotional force, like anger to fuel growth, momentum, innovation and creativity. WOOD energy invites us to shift from stuck to movement. I'm not saying to get angry. I'm saying to look for the gift. Check-in and ask...

    What anger are you holding?

    In the context of WOOD in Spring, a gift mindset asks you to pause and consider the gift in this moment. Think growth through gratitude. Regardless of the origin of upset. There's no room for causing more pain, bursting through without consideration. And that includes self-sabotage. Acknowledge what you are angry about and how you clutch it.

    Invite the gift of WOOD in Spring into your language, seeing, doing and being-- in life and at work. What are you holding back, what are you holding onto, what are you holding in?


    With spring comes new life. Tiny new buds and green shoots begin to emerge and seem to announce, "I'm ready to grow". Humans are no different. Even under adverse situations, we naturally aim ourselves towards improvement, progress and towards gaining the most success we possibly can. Striving to thrive is fundamental to our human evolutionary success, (even when it may look like self-sabotage or feel like we're going backwards). Take time to examine your own contribution.

    In the spirit of spring, ask yourself…

    • What’s new in your life?
    • What needs organizing?
    • What is emerging?
    • What are you/we giving birth to, literally, metaphorically, symbolically?
    • What are you most angry at? And what might you do to creatively transform this energy into an action that produces feel-good results for you and others around you?

    I trust you've gained valuable insight here with me today. Take what's useful. If you need/want more support or guidance, let's connect. Find more free resources here.

    Want to learn more? Invite me to create a retreat for you, speak at your next conference, place of business, networking or civic group. From boardrooms to classrooms to living rooms you'll find presentations with me to be immersive treasured experiences! Connect with Annelies.

    Personal & Professional Transformation

    Did you know?

    I created my first ONLINE Creativity Retreat!

    A Love Feast to Remember explores many ways to live in relationship to creativity and includes teachings of the Five Elements in food. Join me!

    Creativity Retreat Love Feast to Remember

    Annelies' Creativity Retreats are immersive experiences designed to help you spark your genius and include mindfulness practices, collaborative conversations, solo insights and creative activities. Some retreats are online (see above), in-person or hybrid. Custom group and corporate experiences are welcome! You a genius!

    Here's what's next...

    Out of the Frame

    Saturday March 26th


    $155/in-person & online hybrid

    Art in the Garden (link coming soon)

    Saturday April 30th


    $155/in-person only!

    Raleigh Art Walks with Annelies & Greg

    Gather 12+ people for a custom creative experience!

    Rates based on number of participants


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